Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
Activity

Memorial Day Lesson Ideas

Curriculum resources that reinforce the meaning behind Memorial Day observances.
Published: 05/06/2021

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, a day to honor American Civil War dead. Following World War I, Memorial Day became a day to honor soldiers killed in all wars. Honor the nation's fallen military men and women with the following lessons and activities.

Resources for K-5

Lesson Plans

Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice
Students in grades 3-12 use an online graphing tool to graph the history of America's war dead to understand the significance of Memorial Day.

Activities

Crafts

Remembrance Day or Veteran's Day Crafts
Printable coloring pages for students in grades K-2.

Coloring Pictures
Interactive Memorial Day color book pages for students in grades K-5.

Puzzles

Memorial Day Kids Crossword (K-3)

Printables

Memorial Day Printables
10 activities including word search, crossword, coloring pages

Memorial Day
Word search, word scramble, alphabet patterns

Remembrance Poppy Coloring Page
Patriotic Memorial Day Coloring Sheet

Remembrance Day and Veteran's Day Themed Coloring Pages

Background Resources for Educators

Read Across America Booklist
The books in this list can help young people understand the significance of Memorial Day and the importance of honoring those who have died in service to the United States.

Memorial Day Resources
From the Department of Veterans Affairs

The Other Decoration Day Speech
Text of speech given by Frederick Douglass at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1871

Resources for 6-8

Lesson Plans

Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice
Students in grades 3-12 use an online graphing tool to graph the history of America's war dead to understand the significance of Memorial Day.

Americans at War Learning Resources
Includes lesson plans for grades 4-12 students, oral history interviews, first person reenactments, video, and an interactive game in which students examine objects to identity a character from the Civil War.

The Massachusetts 54th Regiment: Honoring the Heroes
Students in grades 6-8 analyze The Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial, read and answer questions about Shaw and the 54th regiment, pose for a photograph like the men in the sculpture, and then create a comic strip featuring one of the heroes of this regiment.

Women Aviators in World War II: "Fly Girls"
Students in grades 6-8 explore the contributions of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II, examine portrayals of women in World War II posters (and newsreels), and compare them with personal recollections of the WASPs.

Background Resources for Educators

Read Across America Booklist
The books in this list can help young people understand the significance of Memorial Day and the importance of honoring those who have died in service to the United States.

Memorial Day Resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs

"The First Decoration Day"
A brief description of the May 1st, 1865 Charleston, South Carolina Memorial Day celebration.

The Other Decoration Day Speech
Text of speech given by Frederick Douglass at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1871

Resources for 9-12

Lesson Plans

Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice
Students in grades 3-12 use an online graphing tool to graph the history of America's war dead to understand the significance of Memorial Day.

Americans at War Learning Resources
Includes lesson plans for grades 4-12 students, oral history interviews, first person reenactments, video, and an interactive game in which students examine objects to identity a character from the Civil War.

The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Courage
Following a close reading of Chapter 23 of The Red Badge of Courage, students in grades 9-12 compare it to a more traditional tale of combat. Using their new understanding, students will select one of three published endings best suited to their understanding of Crane's exploration of values in the novel.

Edith Wharton: War Correspondent
Students in grades 9-12 read chapters of Edith Wharton's book, Fighting France, From Dunkerque to Belfort, explore an American correspondent's experiences during World War I, and create their own correspondence report.

Background Resources for Educators

Read Across America Booklist
The books in this list can help young people understand the significance of Memorial Day and the importance of honoring those who have died in service to the United States.

"The First Decoration Day"
A brief description of the May 1st, 1865 Charleston, South Carolina Memorial Day celebration.

The Other Decoration Day Speech
Text of speech given by Frederick Douglass at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1871

Video

To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings
Describes what may be the first Memorial Day celebration in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1st 1865.

Stay on top of current education news

Sign up to learn more about the important issues affecting our nation’s public schools and students.
women marching in voting rights protest

Voter Suppression is Real

Efforts to suppress the vote continue today. Learn more about proposed bills in Congress to protect voting rights and what you can do to help.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.