What Does It Mean to Be American

The Story

What Does It Mean to Be American? by Rana DiOrio and Elad Yoran explores a big idea by asking questions that will lead us to understand that being an American is so much more than where you live or were born.

Explore what it means to be a good citizen and what civic engagement means. Click HERE to download the lesson plan.


Now that you have “read” the story, what do you think of the following questions?

  1. What does it mean to you to be American?
  2. What does citizenship mean — including rights and responsibilities of citizens?
  3. When have you exhibited citizenship?
  4. What does it mean to be a good citizen?
  5. What special rules do we follow as citizens of the United States?

The Activities

Create a good citizen flower

  • Cut out a circle for the center of the flower, write a good citizen in the center
  • Cut out 5 petals
  • Have child write or draw something that makes a good citizen on each petal
  • Assemble to make a flower

Illustrate the preamble to the Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  • Write the preamble out on a large piece of cardboard (deconstructed delivery box), poster board, or paper with space between each line for artwork.
  • Have children illustrate what they think that line means

Create a family/class ‘constitution’/motto.

  • As a family or class work together to develop a list of common goals or rules, or a saying or motto that everyone can follow.