Subject/Title: Symbolic Family Flags
Grade Level: 5-7 (adaptable to younger or older students)
Goal: To introduce students to the use of symbols and representational icons in art work.
Objectives: Students will design and create a "flag" that represents their family.
Pictures of flags of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Aboriginal Flag
Construction paper, scissors, glue, rulers, pencils, matboard
Note to Teachers:
This activity was the first in a unit on Australia. As students looked at the official and aboriginal flags of this continent, they learned about symbolism in artwork. This project, of course, may be adapted to many different units, but as the use of symbols is so important in Aboriginal art, this project served as a hands-on introduction to the concept of symbology. It would also be possible to adapt this project to other media--fabric (to make real flags), paper and markers, etc.
1. Look at examples of the flags of Australia. The official flag of the Commonwealth features a "Union Jack" (the flag of the United Kingdom) in the upper left hand corner, on a blue field. Under the Union Jack is a 7-pointed star which represents the seven states and territories in Australia. Five more 7-pointed stars represent the "Southern Cross"--a constellation that is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. The Aboringal flag was designed in the early 1970s, and recognized as official in the mid-1990s. The top black section represents the black-skinned, original people of the continent. The bottom red section represents the earth, and the yellow circle in the center represents the sun.
3. Have students come up with three thumbnail designs--using no words--that could represent their family. They should use no more than about four colors, and keep the design relatively simple, as it will be cut out of construction paper and pasted on matboard.
4. Select one design, and use colored pencils to plan final arrangement and colors. After teacher approves (for issues re: clarity and ease of translation from a sketch to a cut paper design) they may begin cutting and pasting the final piece on matboard.
5. When they are finished with their designs, have students write a paragraph to describe how their flag represents their family. Students may also want to share this with their classmates. (Their answers and symbolism may surprise you!)