Students will:

  • define and identify examples of patriotism
Middle and High SchoolSocial Studies, Language Arts

One Class Session

Medal of Honor Focus: John Finn, U.S. Navy, World War II (Pearl Harbor); Joseph Rodriguez, U.S. Army, Korean War

Introductory Activity:
The teacher will create a graphic organizer on the board using the following categories: word, definition, examples (e.g. voting), antonyms (e.g. not voting). A lined paper can be folded into four sections and labeled accordingly. The teacher will place the word “patriotism” as the word to define in the upper left hand corner in the graphic organizer and guide students to complete the rest with a definition of the word, examples of the word, and antonyms of the word.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will view the videos of John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez. The students will record examples of patriotism as they watch the videos.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Place students in small groups to compare examples. They will look at each example from John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez and discuss the choices each man made.

Whole Group Activity:
The teacher will lead a discussion based on why John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez acted as they did. The teacher will also ask students for current day actions of patriotism, e.g. voting, volunteering.

Concluding Activity:
Students will be asked to re-define the word “patriotism” on a note card, and give one example from a Medal of Honor Recipient and one action they have seen in their lives.


Graphic organizers, discussion, definition


John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez Living History videos, notecards

Extended Activity:
Students can research the Pledge of Allegiance and use a thesaurus to more deeply define the words. The students can then write a short essay on how Medal of Honor Recipients John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez exemplified the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance.