Lesson Plan: Boy Scouts of America – American Heritage Badge
Authors: Glenn Johnston and Johanna Seymour, Education Consultants, Maryland Military Historical Society
Grade Level: Boy Scouts
Duration: Seven Hours
Students will visit the Fifth Regiment Armory and complete the necessity assignments to earn the American Heritage Badge.
At the conclusion of this block of instruction:
- Boy scouts will earn the American Heritage Badge during their visit to the Fifth Regiment Armory.
- The Maryland Military Historical Society will develop a working relationship with the Boy Scouts of America, connecting both the organizations and its people
Part One (8:30-9:00am)
Segment 1: Collect Pre-Visit Assignments (10 Minutes)
BEFORE arriving at the Fifth Regiment Armory, boy scouts would already have completed Step 3c and the questions for 2c. Collect their family history assignments and place them in a folder. Also collect their questions for the veterans and speakers. Each scout needs a question about the veterans’ experiences and a question about what the veterans feel that they accomplished. Also, they need question for each of the three speakers about what it means to be an American. Create a check list to make sure that every scout has turned in the assignments.
Segment 2: Lesson Rationale (1 Minute)
Explain to scouts they will explore Maryland History and the Fifth Regiment Armory to earn their American Heritage Badge. They will also be interviewing veterans about their experiences and other Americans about what it means to be an American.
Segment 3: Framing the learning activity. (5 Minutes)
Ask students questions about American Heritage. “What document written in 1776 explained American colonists demands to King George III?” “Who were some important individuals in Maryland History?” “What is a veteran?” “What is the National Registry of Historic Places?” “Where are we?”
Part Two (9:00-9:30)
Segment 4: Badge Activities (Seven Hours)
Step 1. Declaration of Independence. In small groups and with chaperones help, read the Declaration of Independence then rewrite the section that begins with “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and ends with “to provide new Guards for their future security.” Rewrite this section in your own words. Share your writings with your chaperone and discuss the importance of the Declaration to all Americans. When finished, collect the scout’s writings. (30 minutes) Before the speakers start may be a good time for a bathroom break.
Part Three (9:30am-11am)
Step 2. Speakers. Two veterans will speak about their experiences and what they feel that they accomplished. After the veterans speak, three difference Americans who possess different ages and occupations will speak what they think is special about this country, and what American traditions they feel are important to preserve. Students need to be prepared to ask questions to all five speakers. Students will have prepared questions before arriving at the Armory and also may formulate questions while listening. Each veteran receives 15 minutes, and each of the other speakers will be allocated 10 minutes. There will be 15 minutes for questions after the veterans talk and 15 minutes for questions after the other speakers. The five presenters may be the chaperones, and/or members of the Maryland Military Museum staff/board. After this sections, students may wish for a fifteen-minute snack/bathroom break.
Part Four (11:15am-12:00pm)
Step 3. Current Events and American Tradition. Using newspapers and working in small groups, research a current event. Select a topic that is currently in the news. Describe to your chaperone what is happening. Explain how today’s events are related to or affected by the events and values of America’s past. (20 Minutes)
Then in the same small groups, for each of the following, describe its adoption, tell about any changes since its adoption, and explain how each one continues to influence Americans today: the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Great Seal, the motto, and the national anthem. Scouts will have copies and images of each item in their modern form as well their original form. Scout chaperones will have a brief history of each item (25 Minutes, 5 Minutes per Topic).
12:00-12:30 Lunch Break
Part Five (12:30pm-2:30pm)
Step Four. National Registry of Historic Places and History Walk. See photos of the Fifth Regiment Armory throughout history. Learn about the National Registrar of Historic Places. Walk through the exhibit to see the exhibit of “When Freemen Stand” to learn about Baltimore History. How did the War of 1812 affect local history? How was the defense of Baltimore an important event? Describe how the city looked in 1812 and how it looks today. (1 hour)
Take a walk outside of the Armory and walk along Baltimore National Heritage Area’s Cultural Walk exploring the Madison Park Area. Look for buildings that are part of the National Register. Look for historic markers. After your walk in small groups share what you have learned. Also discuss the importance of this location and explain why you think it might qualify for National Register listing. (1 hour)
Part Six (2:45-3:15pm)
Step Five. Period Music. Listen to recordings of popular songs from various periods. Each scout needs to pick five songs and share how each song reflects the way people felt about the period in which it was popular. Scouts will be provided with copies of the lyrics. Time permitting, listen to recordings. This is another small group activity. (30 minutes)
Part Seven (3:15-4:00pm)
Step Six. Career Planning. Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in American heritage. In small groups counselors will explore individuals who work in American Heritage. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for this career. Discuss what education and training are required for this career. Careers of the presents may be considered as well. (40 minutes)
Segment 5. Wrap up (5 minutes)
Dismiss scouts. Thank all involved. Collected scouts’ material if needed for badge. Hand out merit badges.
Every Scout swears to an oath that includes duty to his country. A better understanding of American heritage, the ways in which the past has led to our present nation, is key to truly knowing what it means to be an American.
- Read the Declaration of Independence. Pay close attention to the section that begins with “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and ends with “to provide new Guards for their future security.” Rewrite that section in your own words, making it as easy to understand as possible. Then, share your writing with your merit badge counselor and discuss the importance of the Declaration to all Americans.
- Do TWO of the following:
- Select two individuals from American history, one a political leader (a president, senator, etc.) and the other a private citizen (a writer, religious leader, etc.). Find out about each person’s accomplishments and compare the contributions each has made to America’s heritage.
- With your counselor’s approval, choose an organization that has promoted some type of positive change in American society. Find out why the organization believed this change was necessary and how it helped to accomplish the change. Discuss how this organization is related to events or situations from America’s past.
- With your counselor’s approval, interview two veterans of the U.S. military. Find out what their experiences were like. Ask the veterans what they believe they accomplished.
- With your counselor’s approval, interview three people in your community of different ages and occupations. Ask these people what America means to them, what they think is special about this country, and what American traditions they feel are important to preserve.
- Do the following:
- Select a topic that is currently in the news. Describe to your counselor what is happening. Explain how today’s events are related to or affected by the events and values of America’s past.
- For each of the following, describe its adoption, tell about any changes since its adoption, and explain how each one continues to influence Americans today: the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the seal, the motto, and the national anthem.
- Research your family’s history. Find out how various events and situations in American history affected your family. If your family immigrated to America, tell the reasons why. Share what you find with your counselor.
- Do TWO of the following:
- Explain what is meant by the National Register of Historic Places. Describe how a property becomes eligible for listing. Make a map of your local area, marking the points of historical interest. Tell about any National Register properties in your area. Share the map with your counselor, and describe the historical points you have indicated.
- Research an event of historical importance that took place in or near your area. If possible, visit the place. Tell your counselor about the event and how it affected local history. Describe how the area looked then and what it now looks like.
- Find out when, why, and how your town or neighborhood started, and what ethnic, national, or racial groups played a part. Find out how the area has changed over the past 50 years and try to explain why.
- Take an active part in a program about an event or person in American history. Report to your counselor about the program, the part you took, and the subject.
- Visit a historic trail or walk in your area. After your visit, share with your counselor what you have learned. Discuss the importance of this location and explain why you think it might qualify for National Register listing.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Watch two motion pictures (with the approval and permission of your counselor and parent) that are set in some period of American history. Describe to your counselor how accurate each film is with regard to the historical events depicted and also with regard to the way the characters are portrayed.
- Read a biography (with your counselor’s approval) of someone who has made a contribution to America’s heritage. Tell some things you admire about this individual and some things you do not admire. Explain why you think this person has made a positive or a negative contribution to America’s heritage.
- Listen to recordings of popular songs from various periods of American history. Share five of these songs with your counselor, and describe how each song reflects the way people felt about the period in which it was popular. If a recording is not available, have a copy of the lyrics available.
- Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in American heritage. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for this career. Discuss what education and training are required for this career.
Boy Scouts of America. “American Heritage Badge.” Assessed on February 14, 2014. http://www.scouting.org/Home/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-AHER.aspx
- Asher Lurie- Tour Guide
- Careers in Heritage Student Answer Sheet
- Christine Davis- Grants Writer- Development
- Cold War Song
- Dr. Barry Lanman- Oral Historian and Professor
- Dr. David Young- Director of an Historic Site
- Dr. Robert Armstrong- City Employee Park Historian
- Ellie Ginsburg- Film Location Assistant
- Great Seal of the US resource
- Joseph Seymour- Militian Historian
- Melissa Boyce- Law Enforcement National Park Service
- Revolutionary War Songs
- Song from the Great Depression
- Step 1- Declaration of Independence
- Step 3a- Student Answer Sheet
- Step 3b- American Items- Student Worksheet
- Step 4b- When Freemen Would Stand
- Step 4e- Walking tour
- Student Answer Sheet- Period Music
- World War II Songs
- Boy Scouts of America. “American Heritage Badge.” Assessed on February 14, 2014. http://www.scouting.org/Home/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-AHER.aspx
- Carpenters’ Hall. “Songs from the American Revolution.” Assessed February 15, 2014. http://www.ushistory.org/carpentershall/edu/songs.htm
- LyricsFreak. “Pennies from Heaven.” Assessed February 15, 2014. http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/billie+holiday/pennies+from+heaven_20017901.html
- LyricsMode. “1999.” Assessed February 15, 2014 http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/p/prince/1999.html
- LyricsMode. “There will be Bluebirds over (the White Cliffs of Dover).” Assessed February 15, 2014. http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/v/vera_lynn/therell_be_bluebirds_over_the_white_cliffs_of_dover.html
- The National Achieves. “The Declaration of Independence.” Assessed February 15, 2014 http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
- PBS “In God We Trust Reaffirmed as National Motto.” Assessed February 16, 2014. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/religion/god-in-america/in-god-we-trust-reaffirmed-as-national-motto-again/
- PBS. “History of the Fourth.” Assessed February 15, 2014. http://www.pbs.org/capitolfourth/flag.html
- PBS. “The War of 1812.” Assessed on February 15, 2014. http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/classroom/intermediate/every-song-tells-story/
- Smithsonian.Com. “The Man who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.” Assessed February 15, 2014. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-man-who-wrote-the-pledge-of-allegiance-93907224/
- U.S. State Department. “The Great Seal of the United States.”Assessed February 16, 2014. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/27807.pdf
Lesson Plan Documents for Download
- Lesson Plan: Boy Scouts of America – American Heritage Badge (PDF)
- Asher Lurie- Tour Guide (PDF)
- Careers in Heritage Student Answer Sheet (PDF)
- Christine Davis- Grants Writer- Development (PDF)
- Cold War Song (PDF)
- Dr. Barry Lanman- Oral Historian and Professor (PDF)
- Dr. David Young- Director of an Historic Site (PDF)
- Dr. Robert Armstrong- City Employee Park Historian (PDF)
- Ellie Ginsburg- Film Location Assistant (PDF)
- Great Seal of the US resource (PDF)
- Joseph Seymour- Militian Historian (PDF)
- Melissa Boyce- Law Enforcement National Park Service (PDF)
- Revolutionary War Songs (PDF)
- Song from the Great Depression (PDF)
- Song_NewOrleans_1 (PDF)
- Step 1- Declaration of Independence (PDF)
- Step 3a- Student Answer Sheet (PDF)
- Step 3b- American Items- Student Worksheet (PDF)
- Step 4b- When Freemen Would Stand (PDF)
- Step 4e- Walking tour (PDF)
- Student Answer Sheet- Period Music (PDF)
- World War II Songs (PDF)