Teaching about Massachusetts

Massachusetts was the sixth state to join the United States of America, joining on February 6, 1788. It is interesting to note that it has one of the most recently adopted state flags, just establishing it in 1971! Massachusetts is also not a state, but a Commonwealth! The difference is technical more than anything else. It was also the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin and hosted the Boston Tea Party, and can make an interesting topic for a bulletin board!

Enchantedlearning.com provides a printable map that can be used for the centerpiece of the board. Take it, enlarge it using a projector and then place it on the board. When making the map, don’t make it too big as this board will be more than just a map. Massachusetts has lots of Symbols, emblems, and historic people! This bulletin board can get crowded.

One section of the board needs to be reserved for the standard symbols, the flag, state bird (Chickadee), state flower (Mayflower) and even the state tree (American Elm). Another section can be reserved for more obscure state emblems, such as the state dog (Boston Terrier), state cat (Tabby), state fossil (Dinosaur Tracks), state insect (Lady Bug), and state fish (Cod). All of this can be found on the Netstate website under Massachusetts: Commonwealth symbols and emblems.

Also, on that same website you will find out that Massachusetts also has a whole host of other “officially designated” things. These include state inventor (Benjamin Franklin), Artist (Norman Rockwell), Blues Artist (Henry St. Clair Fredericks), Children’s Book Illustrator (Dr. Seuss), children’s book (Make Way for Ducklings) and even a state folk hero (Johnny Appleseed). Thus a section should be made for “obscure Massachusetts facts”!

This may sound like a lot and it is, but the teacher should not do all the board. Assign the students topics and have them do illustrations, then present the topics to the class and post the illustrations on the board. It may need to be something such as “who is the state inventor and what did he invent”, but there are lots of topics just on this one website! The students learn to look things up about Massachusetts and the teacher gets stuff for the board. It will work!

Educational, entertaining and fun. Isn’t that what a bulletin board is to be about? Massachusetts is a great state and offers a lot of opportunity for bulletin boards.