Saturday, May 23, 2015

Missouri's Flag

published on: 2/28/2003

Contributing Teacher(s): Sherry Ford

Subject Area: Communication Arts/Writing/Research

Grade Range: Middle Grades (6-8)

Materials Needed:

  • Paper
  • pencil
  • pens
  • encyclopedia or access to Internet
  • colored picture of Missouri flag

Instructional Strategy: Questions

Process Standards:

  • Goal 1.1 develop questions and ideas to initiate and refine research
  • Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
  • Goal 1.4 use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information

Content Standards:

  • Communication Arts 3. Reading and evaluating nonfiction works and material (such as biographies, newspap...)
  • Social Studies 3. Principles and processes of governance systems


    Time Allowance: One fifty minute time period

    Description: This project is a lesson designed to gain information about the history of the Missouri State flag.

    Classroom Component:

  • Students will work individually
  • Material will be distributed and read for information
  • Worksheet will be completed by filling in blanks from material
  • Answers will be discussed after an appropriate time period
  • Background material from the Office of Secretary of State:

    Our flag’s story---In the 1800s and early 1900s there was no official Missouri state flag. In 1908, the Daughters of the American Revolution formed a committee headed by Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Oliver, the wife of a former state senator from Cape Girardeau, to design a state flag. However, when Mrs. Oliver’s design was presented to the state legislature in 1909, a second design was also introduced by another legislator, Dr. G. H. Holcomb. It took the legislature three years to decide between the two designs. On March 22, 1913, Governor Elliot Major signed a law giving Missouri its first and present state flag based on Mrs. Oliver’s design.

    Our flag’s meaning---The Missouri state flag is a simple design, but it contains many messages. The flag is composed of three stripes---red, white and blue with the state coat of arms in the middle. Mrs. Oliver wanted to show that Missouri was located in the center of the United States, so she put the coat of arms in the middle of the flag. She used the colors of the American flag because she wanted to show that Missouri was a part of the United States. However, she used the coat of arms to show that Missouri also wanted to be independent to decide how to handle problems within the state. Blue stands for watchfulness and justice, the red for bravery and the white for purity. The 24 stars in the coat of arms were used to show that Missouri was the 24th state admitted to the union.

    The great Seal of the State of Missouri, the basis for the coat of arms, has many special meanings of its own. Its design is generally credited to Robert Wells who was, at various times, a lawyer, a state legislator and a judge. He said the seal shows, by its helmet and buckled belt, that although Missouri was a strong state in the United States, it also wanted to be free to handle its own problems. The grizzly bears, which were found along the Missouri River in other parts of the nation, were chosen for their power and courage to represent what Missouri citizens should be. The new crescent moon was included to remind us that we can make our future better. The larger star rising into a group of 23 stars was to remind people that Missouri became the 24th state only after solving many difficult problems. The helmet was designed to show the power of the people of the state. Finally there are two mottos. "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" tells us how important it is to support the whole United States. "Salus populi suprema lex esto" is Latin which means, "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law". That reminds us that our state government is to help us to have better lives.


  • Who headed the committee which designed the flag of Missouri?
  • When was the flag officially signed into law?
  • What are the three colors of the Missouri flag?
  • The ___________ color stands for watchfulness and justice.
  • The ___________ color stands for purity.
  • The ___________ color stands for bravery.
  • Missouri was the ______ state to be admitted to the union.
  • The ______________ stands for power and courage.
  • The crescent ____________ reminds us that we make our future better.
  • "Salus populi suprema lex esto" is Latin, which means ____________________
  • Answer Key:

  • Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Oliver with the Daughters of the American Revolution
  • March 22, 1913
  • Red, white, and blue
  • Blue
  • White
  • Red
  • 24th
  • grizzly bear
  • moon
  • "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law"
  • NOTE: Information about the Missouri flag was taken in part from the Office of the Secretary of State for Missouri What do you think of this lesson? SuccessLink needs to know. Click HERE.

    For additional information contact :
    Sherry Ford
    Central Jr. High
    Cape Girardeau 63
    (573) 334-2923

If you encounter any problems in submitting information or encounter errors when using this website, please click here to report the problem.

Thank you!

Copyright © 2004 - 2015 SuccessLink Inc. All rights reserved.

Web Support by BrightTree

Hosted by BrightTree