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The Living State Symbols of Arizona


In 1901, the saguaro blossom was selected as the first symbol of Arizona. Over the next one hundred years, seven other living organisms would also be selected to represent the state. This unit is designed to lead you and your students on a wonderful adventure through Arizona with several paths. To start, download the “Living State Symbols of Arizona” PowerPoint that uses an interactive clue game to introduce your students to our living state symbols. Then, depending on your interests, choose one of four possible follow-up activities.

Lesson Summaries

Make sure to read through the lesson and determine what knowledge your students are expected to know before carrying it out with the students.

  • Become a Wildlife Detective - Students develop field research projects to learn about what it takes to be a wildlife biologist
  • Legislative - Students investigate our lawmaking process by following a new class symbol through our legislature
  • Selecting a Class Symbol - Students learn how the democratic process works by nominating, campaigning and electing an animal to serve as a class symbol
  • Seal of Approval - Students learn about the history and meaning behind other symbols as they design a state seal to represent modern Arizona

Suggested Grade Levels


Time Frame

5 days for each lesson (45 minutes each day)

Enduring Understandings

After completing the activities contained in this unit, the student should understand these basic concepts:

  • The essentials of wildlife habitat are food, water, shelter, and space, all in a suitable arrangement.
  • Wildlife is a product of its habitat.
  • Plants and animals adapt to their environments.
  • Wildlife responds to its environment through physiological or behavioral adaptation.
  • There is great diversity of life in Arizona.
  • The diversity of wildlife and plants in Arizona is unique and should be celebrated, respected and conserved.
  • Wildlife has many values to humans.
  • All residents of Arizona interact directly and indirectly with wildlife.
  • Much of the natural and manmade history of Arizona has been captured in the Great Seal of the State of Arizona.
  • Laws can be made or changed by concerned citizens.
  • Our government consists of multiple branches with specialized roles.

Arizona Department of Education Standards

The lessons in this unit were designed to present an integrated approach to learning. Not only will the students be introduced to science concepts dealing specifically with the state symbols, but they will also develop numerous skills. Although each lesson includes the specific performance objectives achieved for fourth grade level, the following general subjects are covered:

Subject Wildlife Detective Legislative Class Symbol Seal of Approval
Art     x x
Math x      
Reading   x    
Science x x x  
Social Studies   x x  
Writing   x    
Technology x      

Download This Unit

The lessons in this unit are available in a standard PDF form:



Additional State Symbols Resources:

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