Understanding the Meaning of the Poppy

Part of the "The Presence of Poppies and the Possibilities of Potatoes" Collection


Students will learn about Flander’s Fields and the significance of the poppy during World War I.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required

Inside and Outside


  • SS5H8  The student will describe U.S. involvement in World War I and post-World War I America
    • a. Explain how German attacks on U.S. shipping during the war in Europe (1914 – 1917) ultimately led the U.S. to join the fight against Germany; include the sinking of the Lusitania and concerns over safety of U.S. ships, U.S. contributions to the war, and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.A Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.B Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.


  1. As a class, watch The Story of The Story Behind John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”
  2. Explore the article on the Remembrance Poppy to understand more about the meaning of the poppy
  3. Discuss with students how plants can come to have a deeper meaning beyond their meaning to scientists, botanists, chefs, etc. Explore resources on plant symbolism along with plant idioms, adages, and proverbs in different cultures.
  4. Choose a plant (maybe one that is growing in the garden!) and write a card to someone with an image of the plant on the front and a poem or message about the meaning on the inside.

Extension: Growing Poppies