The Washington Monument
Familiarize young students with America's first president and the purpose of monuments.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Children read about George Washington and discuss the monument built in his honor. Then students create their own monument to honor a community member.
- Learn about George Washington and the Washington monument.
- Connect the concept of a monument to their own life.
- A Picture Book of George Washington by David Adler
- Chalk board
- Washington Monument Cut-Out (PDF)
- Cardboard or flat sticks
- Glue or tape
Set Up and Prepare
Duration: Two days
Step 1: Ask children if they've ever heard of George Washington. Record responses in the appropriate row of the chart.
Step 2: Read over responses with children.
Step 3: Tell students that they are going to find out more about George Washington. Read a book such as Meet George Washington or A Picture Book of George Washington by David Adler to the class.
Step 4: After reading, ask children if they can add more information to the chart. Review what children know about George Washington by reading through the chart.
Step 5: Ask children to repeat what all they now know about George Washington. Point to each response in the chart as children say them aloud.
Step 6: Ask children if they know what a monument is. Define the word. Discuss that monuments are built to remember important or special people.
Step 7: Tell students that you are going to relate a story about how the Washington Monument came to be. Paraphrase the article about the Washington Monument, covering responses to each of the questions below.
Step 8: Have students answer the questions below. You may wish to write them on the board.
- What is a monument?
- Why was the monument built?
- What did George Washington do that was important?
- Why is it important to honor him?
Make available individual copies of the Washington Monument Cut-Out (PDF). Invite children to discuss special people in their family or that are important to those in their lives. Encourage students to dedicate the monument to this special person, and write the person's name on the copy. Have them add images or drawings, and color to their monuments that they think the special person would appreciate.
Have children share their monuments. Ask them to respond to the four questions from the day before, as they relate to their own monument.
Read excerpts from Don't Know Much About the Presidents by Kenneth C. Davis and play a "Did You Know...?" game with the trivia in this book.
- Did children find the book you selected engaging? Did it provide clear and sufficient information about George Washington's life?
- Did students understand the use of the chart to organize their ideas?
- Did students understand the concept of a monument and what it means to honor someone?
- What other resources could I have used to help children understand who George Washington is, what honor is, what monuments are?
- Was enough time allotted for reading and discussing George Washington before students began the monument activity?