Introduction to Reading Signal Flags
Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: War of 1812
Grade Level: 4-12
Common Core Standards
RS9-10.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.
Content Areas: Reading, Social Studies
Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes
Learning Goals: Students will become familiar with the International Code of Signals flags. Students will decode messages by identifying the signal flag patterns.
- Describe or have students read the history of signal flags.
- Distribute copies of the International Code of Signals flags. Review the characteristics of the various flags. Ask students if there are any flags they think could be easily confused (e.g. M-V, R-X, 4-8, T-3).
- Distribute sample worksheet for decoding. Instruct students to identify each flag in the message and write the corresponding letter in the black space below.
- Review responses once students have had a chance to decode the sample.
- Have students encode their own message using the blank grid.
- Have students exchange papers and decode the message their partner encoded.
- When students have decoded the messages, have students share the messages they decoded.
Assessments: Assess worksheets for accuracy.
Materials/Resources: International Code of Signals flag chart and worksheet, Crayons, markers, colored pencils
Special Considerations: Students with visual impairments could be assigned a partner to work with.
Extensions: For homework students could be asked to continue to encode messages for decoding by a partner the next day. Students could make a set of signal flags by having each student make one flag from a sheet of paper or fabric. Students may want to learn more about the International Code of Signals, Pub. 102 available to download at: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=273
Students might be interested in learning Morse Code or semaphore systems.