Decide on an appropriate way to commemorate an event or person.

Instructional Purpose

To study a person, institution or event more deeply in ways that celebrate its complexity. Use judgment to determine which aspects of the subject are laudable or important. To learn how to represent abstract ideas in concrete form, and/or to summarize many concrete instances into a more general form.




Commemorative projects fit best within social studies, but can also be used within Language Arts (to study a writer, character or work), science (to focus on a specific scientist or discovery).


The subjects to be commemorated should be complex and multifaceted (perhaps controversial), and probably subjects that are not already honored in multiple ways (like George Washington or the American Civil War). That, unfortunately, eliminates many of the stars of most history textbooks.


Groups can work in parallel commemorating the same thing, or each group can have a separate subject. Groups can be assigned the same or different media (mural, statue, etc.) or can be allowed to choose their own. The scenario might include the idea that all separate class products might be assembled in a single memorial park or plaza.

This Design Pattern was authored by Bernie Dodge