Capital Monuments: Exploring Washington, D.C.

Capital Monuments: Exploring Washington, D.C.
Frances Cleveland: Law, Politics and Govt

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: Two to three class periods


In 1885, the year that Grover Cleveland first assumed the Presidency, the Washington Monument was dedicated and opened to the public later in his administration in 1888.  The Washington Monument is one of a number of monuments to the history of the nation that are found in Washington, D.C.  All are of interest, and all are worth investigating.


Students who participate in this lesson will learn about seven of the most famous monuments in Washington, D.C. through the development of brochures describing them.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet Access to print materials Paper, art supplies Or, if available, a computer program such as Publisher that will design brochures.


1.  Introduce the lesson by asking students if any have been to Washington, D.C.  If some have, encourage them to talk about their visit.  Note that when visitors come to Washington, they often need tour information that enables them to find government buildings, parks, museums, and monuments.  Explain that, for that reason, the class will be designing brochures about seven of the most famous monuments in the city.
2.  Divide the class into seven groups, assigning each group one of the monuments listed below.  Each group is responsible for designing and producing a brochure about its monument.  The brochure should include the following:

  • A picture or two (drawn or copied from the web)
  • Something about the history of the monument
  • A brief description of the subject of the monument
  • A map showing the monument’s location in the city
  • Interesting facts about the monument

3.  Students may use the websites below to start their research, but should be encouraged to use other web sites as well as print materials to find out about their monument.
4.  When the brochures are completed, share them with the class, and conclude the lesson by discussing what role such monuments play in our national life.  If there are monuments in your own town, discuss what they represent and why they were built.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson might be extended by including local monuments in the research and design process, or by expanding the brochures to include Washington museums, libraries, and/or government buildings.

Sources & Resources:

Jefferson Memorial 

Korean War Memorial

Lincoln Memorial 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial 

Vietnam Women’s Memorial 

Washington Monument 

Additional Pictures 

This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.