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This inquiry asks students to investigate the uses and meaning of our many state symbols. Working through a series of supporting questions and formative tasks, students use primary and secondary sources to develop a thorough understanding of way specific images communicate New Hampshire’s history and identity. This inquiry is intended to develop students’ familiarity with the state’s main symbols while also challenging them to think about what those symbols tell others about New Hampshire and how symbols connect people to their state and government. The inquiry concludes with a summative task that challenges students to argue in favor of the symbol they feel best represents New Hampshire.
NOTE: This inquiry is expected to take three to five 40-minute class periods. The inquiry time frame could expand if teachers think their students need additional instructional experiences (i.e., more supporting questions, formative performance tasks, and featured sources). Please adapt all the material in this inquiry, as necessary, to meet the needs of the students in your classroom.

Compelling Question:
What do our state symbols say about us?


Supporting Question

Why do we have state symbols?

Formative Task

Examine the three main symbols of our state and create a list of their uses.
New Hampshire Flag Flown on the Moon New Hampshire State Seal New Hampshire State Emblem

Supporting Question

What do our state symbols mean?

Formative Task

Using evidence from the sources create a glossary that defines the visual components of one of our three main state symbols.
New Hampshire Almanac New Hampshire Flag Flown on the Moon New Hampshire State Seal New Hampshire State Emblem

Supporting Question

Why do state symbols change over time?

Formative Task

Using evidence from the sources, students identify differences between an old and new version of a symbol and then discuss how state symbols engage people in the legislative process.
New Hampshire Almanac New Hampshire's First State Seal Plate New Hampshire State Seal, 1848

Staging the Question

Examine the New Hampshire state flag that took a trip to the moon and discuss the power and meaning of symbols.

Summative Performance Task


What do our state symbols say about us? Choose the state symbol that you think is the best representation of the New Hampshire you know. Create a presentation that uses evidence from the sources to convince others to agree with your position. Be sure to include information about the history of the symbol: when it was created, how it has changed, and how it has stayed the same.


How should your chosen symbol be used so that more people see and understand it? Write a persuasive paragraph that explains your thinking.

Taking Informed Action


Which state symbols are the most recognizable to others and why? Does it have to do with how they are used or what they show?


Create a survey to gather more information about how people in your school or community feel about our state symbols.


Based on your findings, design a new symbol that incorporates the features and messages that resonate most with people in your community.