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Citation Investigation

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

English, Language Arts, Social Studies

Students will:
• Read and analyze a Medal of Honor citation.
• Organize parts of the citation into the correct order.
• Identify the act of heroism for which the Medal of Honor was received.
• Define key vocabulary in a recipient’s citation.

For the Teacher:
Teachers will need to prepare copies of several Medal of Honor citations for students to read. Medal of Honor recipient
Gary Beikirch's citation is used in this lesson. His vignette is featured in Lesson B3, Section 1.

Medal of Honor Recipient Focus (if applicable): Any

For the Teacher: The teacher will need to prepare copies of a Medal of Honor citation for this activity.
Citations can be found at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website,

Introductory Activity: Today we are going to examine a Medal of Honor citation. The teacher will ask students,“What
is a birth certificate? What is its purpose?” The teacher will lead a discussion about these questions. The “birth certificate”
for a Medal of Honor is called a citation. Each citation is written using official government language and structure. The teacher
can also discuss the word “citation” as it applies to research and identifying sources.

Small Group Activity: The teacher will print copies of the citation and cut the paragraphs into sections for each small group.
These sections will be put in an envelope for each group. The teacher will place the students into groups. Each group
will remove all the sections from the envelope. Once all sections are out, the students will work together to place the sections
in the correct order of the official government citation. It is suggested that teachers time this activity (in a game-like format).

Whole Group Activity: When all students have completed organizing their citation, the teacher will ask the students what
strategies they used to place the sections in the correct order. Possible answers include looking for beginning, middle, and
end words, or transition words like first, second, etc. The teacher will reveal the actual order of the citation, one section at a time,
noting when groups are no longer in contention for the correctly completed citation.

Small Group Activity: The teacher will give students a hard copy of the recipient’s citation and the Text-Dependent Questions
Worksheet about the citation. The students will work in groups to complete the worksheet, being sure to select direct quotations
from the citation to support their responses and lead a discussion about the act of heroism and how it is described in both its
written and visual form.

Concluding Activity: The teacher will reveal the correct answers for the worksheet. The class will view the recipient’s vignette
and discuss the act of heroism. Students will summarize the act of heroism using key words and phrases from the citation or
the vignette.

Assessment: Text-Dependent Questions Worksheet, student summary

Resources: (site of Gary Beikirch’s Medal of Honor Citation)

Extended Activities (optional): Students can choose another Medal of Honor recipient’s citation and summarize it.
The student may also view the recipient’s vignette.

Download lesson to view Text-Dependent Questions and Sample Answer Key.