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McREL Standards Activity

Stars and Stripes

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to apply proportional reasoning to solve a real-world problem.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
 Standard 3.Uses basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 6. Uses proportional reasoning to solve mathematical and real-world problems (e.g., involving equivalent fractions, equal ratios, constant rate of change, proportions, percents)
Student Product:Illustration with description
Material & Resources:Current specifications for the United States flag
Teacher's Note:
Standard proportions for the U. S. flag can be obtained at  This website also contains a variety of other flag-related information that students might find interesting, including images of historic U. S. flags.
Students use proportional reasoning to design and describe a U.S. flag which reflects the incorporation of a 51st state.  The teacher provides the following instructions:

"The United States Flag has been redesigned many times since 1776.  A local manufacturing company is intrigued by the possibility of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state.  They want to have a newly designed flag on hand to propose in case there is a need for an updated version of the flag.  They’re holding a contest to find a flag design that will suit their needs.  They would like to continue the tradition of 13 stripes and the number of stars corresponding to the number of states.  Since flags can be made in any size, all of the elements must be described proportionally.  Design a new flag and describe your design in such a way that it can be easily duplicated in any size (use current U. S. flag specifications as a model)."