Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Star-Spangled Banner

In music classes we have been talking a lot about the Star-Spangled Banner this year.  September 14 was the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key writing of the poem, "In Defense of Ft. McHenry" which later became known to us as our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner.

Mary Pickersgill was known as one of the top flag makers in Baltimore.  Major George Armistead wanted something flying over the garrison guarding Baltimore's waterfront that would be seen by the British, even from a distance.  Mary was commissioned to make the flag...30 by 42 required 300 yards of wool, and had 2-foot wide stripes as well as 15 stripes and stars.  She had to work on the flag in a nearby brewry as her own home wasn't even large enough.  Taking 6 weeks to sew with the help of about 5 other women, Mary Pickersgill completed the flag and was paid $405.90 for her work.  The main flag weighed about 50 pounds (23 kg), and it took 11 men to raise it onto a 90-foot (27-meter) flagpole.  There was also a smaller storm version that flew during the battle, costing $168.54.
In addition to reviewing proper etiquette while singing the Star-Spangled Banner, students have done a variety of activities.  Younger students colored flags (not an easy task for a kindergartener!), noting the order of the colors of the stripes on the flag.  

Students also learned about length, width, and perimeter as we measured the actual size of the flag!
We celebrated the 200th Anniversary as a school body Monday morning.  We of course sang the Star-Spangled Banner and then measured the size in the gym.  Then we wanted to see if the entire student body would fit inside of the area of the flag!  Well, we EASILY fit the entire elementary students and teachers inside the flag (somewhere around 300) and had lots of room to spare!  Students agreed that the junior high and high school would probably have easily fit in too!  Here we are singing the Star-Spangled Banner together.  The yellow rope represents the perimeter of the flag.