Standards: History Standard Two: Students will gather, examine, and analyze historical data.
History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history.
Objective: The students will write a description and create a flag to represent their school based on the example of the Delaware Flag.
Materials: 1) Lesson J, Delaware Public Archives, State Seal Resolution, Series Number 1111.2
2) Drawing Paper, Crayons or Drawing Pencils, 3) Lesson J, Delaware Flag Overhead (Courtesy of Delaware State Museums)[Overhead]
1) Form the class into groups of two. Discuss the meaning of symbolism and ask the students for examples of symbols - The United States Flag, The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell. One could even use the icons on a computer as being representative of symbols.
2) Display the overhead of the Delaware Flag. Is the Delaware Flag a symbol of the state? (Yes) Point out that the picture on the flag is taken from the State Seal that was created in 1777. Review the events that led up to the State Seal being produced. (See background information)
3) Pass out the State Seal Resolution. Give the students several minutes to familiarize themselves with the document. Read the resolution aloud.
4) Explain to the students that the State Seal was used as the centerpiece of the Delaware flag when it was adopted as the official state flag on February 20, 1913. Display the flag overhead. Point out the various parts of the flag and how the items on the flag symbolize different areas of importance. The colors, diamond shape and December 7, 1787 date will need to be pointed out and explained. (See background information)
5) Instruct the students that they will create their own flag to represent their school. As a group they must write a description of their flag. Emphasize that they should use symbols to show important elements of their school. The group will then create their own flag based on the description they wrote.
6) The students will have the remainder of the period to work on the project. The students will also have the entire period the following day to complete the project. On the third day the groups will present the project orally to the class.
7) Collect the descriptions and flags. Grade the descriptions based on creativity and use of symbolism. Grade flags based on following the instructions of the written descriptions as well as creativity and effort. Administer a group grade for ability to work with others and creative input to the project.
8) Post the flags on the bulletin board. Review the use of symbolism and instruct the students to look for symbolism in their school, their neighborhood, and their home. If a student finds a symbol in one of these areas he can present it to the class for extra credit points.
The Committee, appointed to confer with a Committee
of the House of Assembly on the subject matter of a device
for and making of a Great Seal for the State, and also
to fix upon a Seal which shall be held and deemed to be
the Great Seal pro tempore untill the Great Seal
which shall be agreed upon by both Houses be made
do now report that they met missors McKean,
Robinson and Cook appointed by the House of Assembly
to this Service, and have come to the
following Resolution thereupon, viz:
Resolved, N.C.D. That Mr. McKean
be a committee to employ skillful
workmen to make a Silver Seal of the Diameter
of three inches and of a circular form, and that there
be engraved thereon a Sheaf of Wheat, an ear of Indian
Corn from the Ox in full Stature in a Shield,
with a River dividing the wheat sheaf and ear of Indian
corn from that which is to be cut on the nether
part of the shield below the river; that the supports
be an American Soldier under arms, on the right,
and a husbandman with a hoe in his hand on the
left; and that a ship be the Crest; and that there
shall be an inscription around the same near the
edge or extremity thereof in the words following in
capital letters: THE GREAT SEAL OF
THE DELAWARE STATE, with the figures 1777,
which shall, from and after the delivery thereof to the
President and Commander in Chief be the Great Seal
and deemed the Arms of this State.
That the Seal of the County of New Castle
shall be deemed and held to be the Great
Although the Delaware State Flag was not adopted until 1913, the story behind its design began in the colonial era. When Delaware became an independent state in 1776 there was an immediate need to produce what is known as a Great Seal for the State. A Seal is an impression or mark that appears on official documents of the State and is an important means of identifying and authenticating government papers.
On January 17, 1777, a committee appointed to design a Great Seal by the Delaware General Assembly presented their report to the Assembly. In this report the Committee described the new design of the Seal. (See transcription) In addition, it was decided that New Castle County's Seal would serve as the State Seal until the new one was made. In 1847, the new state motto, "Liberty and Independence" was added to the Seal.
When a committee was appointed in 1913 to design the official flag of the State, the members chose the Seal's center section (called the Coat of Arms) as the focal point of the flag. The diamond shape that surrounds the Coat of Arms is derived from Delaware's nickname - the Diamond State. This name has traditionally been attributed to Thomas Jefferson. The date, December 7, 1787, reflects the pride in being the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. The flag's main colors, colonial blue and buff, were chosen to honor General George Washington. The hero of the American Revolution wore a uniform composed of these colors.
Additional symbols on the Delaware Flag
The Wheat Sheaf, adapted from the Sussex County Seal, signifies the agricultural vitality of Delaware.
The Farmer with the hoe represents the central role of farming to the state.
The Ox represents the importance of animal husbandry to the state economy.
The Ship is a symbol of New Castle County's ship building industry and Delaware's extensive coastal commerce.
The Corn, taken from the Kent County Seal, also symbolizes the agricultural basis of Delaware's economy.
The Militiaman with his musket represents the important role of the citizen-soldier to the maintenance of American liberties.
The Water stands for the Delaware River, the main stay of the State's commerce and transportation. (The water is the series of stripes between the ox and the wheat and corn.)
This document is part of the Legislative Papers Collection (Series Number 1111.2) It is the "Report of Committee Respecting a Great Seal" and is dated January 17, 1777. This collection is available on microfilm. In addition, information about the State Flag as well as other state symbols can be found in the General Reference Collection (folder #228).