Essex Farm Cemetery – Flanders

 Poppies in Flanders Fields

Lt Col John McCrae


Purchase Lesson Plan #3

In Flanders Fields Poem
And Remembrance Day Poppies


“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
Flanders Fields”

Why do poppies grow in Flanders Fields?poppies in flanders fields

Every spring during the four long years of WWI, soldiers witnessed the brilliant red poppies blooming on the newly dug graves and on the shelled battlegrounds surrounding the fields of Flanders in Belgium.

Poppy seeds will lay dormant for years until the soil around them is disturbed. The battles in Flanders Fields created the ideal conditions for poppy seeds to germinate, take root and bloom everywhere in great numbers.

Each year on Remembrance Day and at many memorial services around the globe, poppies are traditionally worn and the In Flanders Fields poem is recited in honor of our fallen comrades.

Remembrance Day poppies owe their origin to the In Flanders Fields poem by John McCrae.

In Flanders Fields Lesson Plan #3

Explore How the In Flanders Fields Poem Influenced the Adoption of the Red Poppy Flower As a Symbol of Remembrance (Remembrance Day Activities Included)


“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
Flanders Fields”

Grade Level - K – 12:

  • Examine the unique characteristics and history of the poppy flower (K – 12)
  • Identify who first wore a poppy (K – 12)
  • Identify who started the tradition of selling poppies at Remembrance (K – 12)
  • Understand that there are fewer than 2 dozen WWI veterans still alive today, worldwide (K – 12)
  • Identify the various other names Remembrance Day is known by around the world (4 – 12)
  • Appreciate the significance of the poppy in annual Remembrance Day ceremonies (4 – 12)
  • Discover how we as a nation recognize and remember our war dead (4 – 12)
  • Develop an understanding of how the In Flanders Fields poem influenced the use of the poppy for Remembrance (4 – 12)

Purchase Lesson Plan #3

TIME: This lesson plan may take 2 – 3 (45 minute) classes or can be edited as required.
OBJECTIVES Students will be able to:

  • Understand how the In Flanders Fields poem influenced the use of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance
  • Explain the connection between battlefields, poppies and Remembrance
  • Develop a better understanding of the meaning behind wearing a poppy during Remembrance
  • Demonstrate the unique characteristics of the poppy flower
  • Learn about the various ways we honor our war dead with memorials, books of remembrance, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, etc.
  • Gain a sense that we have very few WWI veterans still with us and soon we will witness the passing of that entire generation

There is a historical connection between battlefields and poppies that dates back hundreds of years. This lesson will encourage students to explore this connection and learn about the unique characteristics of the poppy. Students will examine how John McCrae came to use this flower in his In Flanders Fields poem to reflect the universal concept of Remembrance and how McCrae’s poem has been a part of Remembrance for more than nine decades.

It is difficult to think of Remembrance without also thinking of the poppy and John McCrae’s famous In Flanders Fields poem, our most beloved war memorial poem. This lesson will also introduce students to various other ways that we remember our war dead including the National War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Memorial Chamber and Books of Remembrance and the Maple Leaf Legacy Project.


  • Data Sheet #1A – IN FLANDERS FIELDS Poem
  • Data Sheet #3 – Inspiration for the Poppy & Remembrance
  • IN FLANDERS FIELDS music CD, CD player
  • Black Line Master F - “Make a Paper Poppy” (K – 3)
  • Black Line Master G - “Remembrance Matching Exercise” (Grade 4 - 12)

To purchase the Flanders Fields Educational Kit – 6 Lesson Plans for Teachers
visit the Download Lesson Plans page


Download Lesson Plan #3!

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Please Email Flanders Fields Music for more information about:

Flanders Fields Song
Flanders Fields Video
Flanders Fields Sheet Music
Flanders Fields Educational Kit – 6 Lesson Plans for Teachers


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