The Oregon state flag is full of symbolism, some flag experts (vexillologists) say too much. This project teaches students about the flag and the meaning of its many parts. After, enjoy a trivia game and learn about Oregon’s geography, state symbols, and some historical facts. Templates to make question and answer card sets and a post quiz are attached.
Part I: Oregon State Flag Symbolism
1) Have students cut out and fold the tri-fold book. See Template on page 2.
2) In each section, students draw a part of the flag, then explain its symbolism. There are more parts of the flag than sections of the book. Have students pick which one they think best represent Oregon.
3) Afterward, discuss why they picked these parts of the flag.
Oregon Flag Facts:
The Oregon state flag is the only U.S. state flag with a different design on each side.
The flag colors are navy blue and gold. On the flag face are the words “State of Oregon” above a gold shield surrounded by 33 stars. The stars represent Oregon as the thirty-third state admitted to the union. Below the shield is the date “1859”- the year Oregon was admitted to the union.
On the shield is a blazing sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, mountains, forests and a conestoga wagon all represent the natural resources and splendor of Oregon and the early settlers to the territory.
A plow, a sheaf of wheat and a pickaxe represent the early industry of the state; agriculture and mining.
Two ships are shown; a British Man-of-War and an American trade vessel. The departing British ship and arriving American ship are said to represent the claim to the land that was laid by both Great Britain and the United States at the Same time. Also it is thought that the tack(alignment of a sailing vessel with respect to the wind) of the two ships represents the ascendancy of American power in the western hemisphere. Another interpretation has the departure and arrival as representative of trade or commerce. This explanation would seem to ignore that the British vessel is a Man-of-War.
The crest of the shield is the American eagle. Also displayed is a banner with the words “The Union.” The eagle and the banner express support for “The Union” that Oregon joined in 1859.
With a nickname like “The Beaver State” one might easily guess what lies on the reverse side of the flag – the beaver, Oregon’s state animal.
Part II: Trivia Game
1)You will need to prepare enough sets of trivia questions so that each group of four students has a set of the cards. Each team will also need paper and pencil to keep track of points. Level 2 questions are harder and more appropriate for older or advanced students.
2) Make teams and hand out materials. Each group of four students needs to be divided into two teams.
3) Students shuffle the deck of cards and place the pile of cards between the two teams with the question side facing up. Each
group of teams will keep track of their scores.
4) The first team takes a card from the top of the deck, reads aloud the question and the three possible answers. Players should
cover the answer on the opposite side so no one can see it. The player chooses an answer, says it out loud to the group, and
then turns the card over so only they can see it and silently reads the correct answer to themselves.
5) If the player selects the correct answer, they earn one point for their team and read the correct answer out loud. If the player
is incorrect, the second team may choose to challenge them. If they pick the correct answer they get a point for their team. If
they answer incorrectly, they loose a point for their team.
6) The second team then takes the next card from the top of the deck and it is their turn, repeating Step #4 and #5 of the
7) Have your teams play until one team earns 10 points (or for about 15 minutes). Then have one of the teams from each group
move clockwise around the room to the next group. Play through three rounds.
8) Test students retention by having them complete the short Oregon Trivia Quiz.
For full instructions, please download our PDF