Smithsonian

Step Two

Examination

On an overhead projector, show students the U.S. stamp that commemorates the state of Michigan. Draw students’ attention to the information that is available on the stamp (i.e., the value, the country of origin, details of the illustration, and the date). Explain that the date indicates the year the state was admitted to the Union. (Tell students that they will be examining other stamps commemorating statehood, some of which will include two dates. On these stamps the first date that appears is the date of that state’s admittance into the Union.)

Divide the class into three groups. Give each group an envelope that contains enlarged copies of ten different stamps commemorating U.S. statehood. Students will examine each stamp with their lenses to identify the date on the stamp, which indicates when the state was admitted to the Union. They will then create a “stamp timeline” by putting the stamps in chronological order from the earliest admission to the latest.