The World Flag International Lesson Plan
- "Reform the Environment; not Man."
~R. Buckminster Fuller
The World Flag is a Visual Catalyst. It flies as a Unifying Symbol inspiring positive global change while continuing to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity. The World Flag Project raises awareness in theareas of Education, World Health, Human Rights and the Environment.
Created in 1988 by Paul Carroll, the World Flag is a global image meant to resonate with the people of the world. The design of the World Flag has in the center an image of the world surrounded by 216 flags. They include every national flag, the flag of the United Nations and some flags of territories dependent in one way or other on larger countries. The distribution of the flags within the design is not random. Underlying symbolism and design innuendo create further depth and meaning . As a "Living Flag Evolving with History", each iteration serves as a historic rendering in time. Because of their inherent symbolic, nationalistic, and subconscious power, individual flags offered inherent possibilities for Carroll’s vision. He wrote, “Moving individual flags into the global realm—transcending borders, race, and religions—creates unique impact from micro to macro and back.” The World Flag's potential to engage individuals and children from around the world is immense. “The power of symbols to both inspire and unite people finds it’s most relevant and meaningful perfection in the national flags and banners of the world.” New Scientist, 5 December 2007. The World Flag; "Teaching Unity, Sharing Diversity".
The World Flag Lesson Plan
- THE WORLD FLAG®
I want my students to understand (or be able to):
A. common symbols among flags of the world and how evidence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.un.org/events/humanrights/udhr60can be found in the symbolism of the flags.
In order to fully appreciate this lesson, the students must know or be experienced in:
A. a basic understanding of symbolism and basic online research skills.
III. Instructional Objectives:
The students will:
A. identify symbolism represented in the flag design and its relationship to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
IV. Materials and Equipment:
Teacher: The World Flag
Computers with Internet access
classroom set of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
posterboard and markers
V. Instructional Procedures:
A. Teacher introduces The World Flag and symbolism.
B. Teacher discusses what is represented on the relevant national flag.
C. Students are divided into cooperative groups of 3 or 4.
D. Each group is assigned a category from The World Flag:
1. Horizontal stripes
2. Vertical stripes
3. Single stars
4. Multiple stars
5. Large circles
6. Intersecting lines
E. Each group will identify all the flags on The World Flag in the assigned category and conduct a short scavenger hunt to find basic information about each country on the world flag website by clicking on the appropriate links on the home page and seeking other reference material as needed.
1. Basic information to include:
§ Type of government
§ Major natural resources
F. Group will choose one country to explore further, concentrating on the symbolism of their flag (researching online).
G. Students will examine the UDHR and look for any connections between the symbolism of the flag and specific articles of the UDHR. (WhichUDHR article(s) apply to the symbolism represented in the flag?)
H. Create a visual (poster size) explaining the symbolism of the flag and stating the UDHR article most closely connected.
I. Share findings with the whole class.
J. Whole group discussion about the similarities and connections revealed in the presentations.
A. Scavenger hunt
B. Small group presentations with poster (symbolism / research information / UDHR articles)
C. Whole group discussion on significance of symbols and how they connect us as humans from all over the world
VII. State/CountryContent Standards:
5.1 Build an understanding of multiple perspectives and global interdependence.
2.1 Analyze the spatial organizations of people, places, and environment on the earth’s surface.
2.4 Analyze the human and physical characteristics of different places and regions.
2.5 Explain how geography enables people to comprehend the relationships between people, places, and environments over time.
4.3 Build an understanding that all people in (relevant country), have rights and assume responsibilities.
VIII. Follow-up Activities:
Extension projects: done as homework or in class
A. Students will create a flag utilizing at least three symbols.
B. Students will be able to identify and explain the symbols in the flag.
- Distribution within the flag is not random.
Some examples of Symbolism within The World Flag:
In the center is the Earth with a white background symbolizing peace and purity while the green represents nature.The white of Japan draws the eye downward creating the image of a flagpole. This then becomes a Flag within the World Flag and also symbolizes a “P” for peace.The fulcrum of Saint Lucia, whose triangle reaches toward the sky, symbolizes the fragile environmental balance of the Earth and its nations.Japan (left) is one of the wealthier nations and Bangladesh one of the poorest.
The United Nations in the center symbolizes unity.
Just above Earth’s center the three sunsigns within the flags of Argentina, Antigua & Barbuda, and Uruguay (left to right) symbolize the rays of light and hope shining into the flag of Tibet above. These four flags collectively represent the life-giving power of the sun both lighting the Earth and shining upward into the flag of Afghanistan, flanked on the left by Swaziland and on the right by Kenya. Within those flags are symbols of hope, peace, and freedom challenging the internal conflict(s) faced by Afghanistan today. The underlying meaning here exists within the tribal history of these nations.
Although not encompassing all the world’s religions, the next three flags above, Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, and Israel (left to right), are a symbolic challenge to transcend the politics of religion and find a common spiritual ground.
Above these the olive branches of Cyprus symbolize peace and hope.
At the top, the tree of Norfolk Island’s roots reach into the white of Cyprus representing peace as the soil from which new life may grow.
Above the United States flag is Ireland and below is Italy, representing the designer’s multi-cultural heritage.
To the left of the U.S. is China, symbolizing the opposing tensions of economic and military power in the world.
Opposing each other across the Earth, the USA and Russia symbolize the challenge of opposing powers whose collective actions can have major impact on the planet as a whole.
To the right of Russia is Lesotho, whose flag symbolizes independence, peace and stability representing Russia’s movement toward freedom and democracy.
Below Russia is Barbados, whose trident is used here to symbolize Russia’s emergence from the depths of communism toward a more democratic system of government.
Above Russia is Nicaragua, whose blue and white pattern works visually to tie in with the blue and white of Russia.
The four corners of the earth are represented by Sweden on the top left, Nepal on the top right, Tuvalu the bottom left,and Malaysia on the bottom right. Each country is in a relative opposite location of the planet from each other.
- The Arab Spring symbolism within the 2011World Flag (Above)
Countries of the Arab Spring 2010-2011 linked in the powerful shape of a Bird(s) in Migration representing the surge or flight toward Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights in the World and more specifically the Middle East.
From Top: Left -----> to-----> Right:
Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon,Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Algeria,Bahrain, Mauritania, Qatar, Western Sahara, Morocco, Libya, The Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Southern Sudan, Egypt
"The love of one's country is a splendid thing.
But why must that love stop at the border?"