Back to Lessons

Symbolism in the Medal of Honor

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School Fine Arts, Language Arts

Students will:
• Define symbolism and identify how it is used in the actual design of the three
• Different Medals of Honor.
• Research the changes in the Medals over time.

For the Teacher:
After students have an understanding of the Medal of Honor and what it represents, teachers may incorporate
these lessons into other areas of the curriculum.

Introductory Activity:
The teacher will review the introductory vignette, "Medal of Honor: In Their Own Words," with the class. The
teacher will lead a brief discussion of the key points of the vignette.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will research the design and creation of the Medal and how it has changed over time. Teachers will
also help students explore the symbolism used in the creation of the Medal.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Students will choose a Medal (Navy, Marine Corps, Army, or Air Force) and re-create it using available media
and supplies.

Whole Group Activity:
The students’ work will be displayed around the room. The students will complete a gallery walk. They will view
and critique all the work.

Concluding Activity:
Students will write a reflection (2 paragraphs minimum) on their work. Students will also write a journal entry
based on their review of the symbolism in the medals.

Artwork, the critique, the self-reflection

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.
Website (, art supplies

Extended activity:
The students can create a Medal of their own design to honor military personnel and/or other public servants.