The City of Colorado Springs Sesquicentennial Education Resource Guide

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The City of Colorado Springs is celebrating our 150th birthday in 2021! We were founded on July 31, 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer.

We need your help to celebrate and commemorate our sesquicentennial [se-skwi-sen-ˈte-nē-əl]. This Education Resource Guide provides ideas on how your districts, schools, classrooms, students and their families can get involved.

Suggested Activities - Celebrate & Commemorate

These activities can adapted to work for your whole school district, individual schools or classrooms, and even for students and their families! 

Hold a Contest


Sesquicentennial Education Resource Guide

Download the full Sesquicentennial Education Resource Guide

  • Essay Contest: Prompt Example - What do you think the most important change to our city has been from the past 150 years? What do you think the most important change will be in the next 150 years?
  • Coloring Contest: Use the COS@150 Coloring Sheet to hold a coloring contest.
  • Chalk Art Contest: Challenge schools to choose a story from the COS@150 exhibit website and create a unique chalk art display on their chosen topic.
  • Photography Contest: Challenge students to find inspiration from local history, the natural world, or the “Then & Now” photo project to take their own unique photos.
  • Colorado Springs Flag: Encourage students to analyze and recreate the Colorado Springs flag. See the “Colorado Springs’ Municipal Flag” activity.
  • Classroom Door Decorating Contest: Use local history, art, nature, and other resources to inspire unique and artistic door decorations throughout the school. See the “Get Out & Get Involved” guide for more resources.

Take on a Challenge

  • Tree Planting Challenge: To celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2021 and carry on General William Jackson Palmer’s (our city’s founder) vision of a tree-lined city, we are challenging the community to help plant 18,071 new trees over the next two years. Visit the Tree Challenge site to learn more and to “Track Your Tree.”
  • Trivia Bowl: Use local history, art, nature, and other resources to develop trivia questions for schools to share throughout the sesquicentennial year (see “Get Out & Get Involved” guide for resources).
  • Trash Can Challenge: Join the creative Trash Can Challenge to inspire classrooms to learn more about local history and to bring color and fun to your spaces. Each classroom should pick one trashcan to decorate. Use the Get Out & Get Involved” resource list to find a story or local history theme to inspire the design. Using paint, and other materials, challenge students to get creative!
  • Get Creative: Challenge schools to create a mural, hallway art project, etc. in honor of the sesquicentennial. Help students reflect on the past 150 years, and imagine what is to come in the next 150 years.

Then & Now Photo Project

View the activity guide 

  • Practice primary source analysis with the historic images, challenge students to recreate a historic image, set-up an activity with photographer Mike Pach, and more!
  • Learn more about the project

Plan a Field Trip & Explore the Community

  • View the “Get Out & Get Involved” resource for ideas for potential field trips (virtual and in-person), curriculum resources, and places to explore as a family!
  • Explore local history near your school or home. Use the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum’s new mobile-friendly “Story of Us” tool.

More Ideas


Colorado Springs 150 years coloring page

Download the coloring sheet

  • Make a Recipe from 150 Years Ago: Explore resources online such as The Henry Ford Historic Cookbook Collection to find a recipe to recreate!
  • Make a Digital Time Capsule: Time capsules are a special way to preserve history. Work with your school, classroom, or family to decide what images, objects, stories, etc. best tell their story. Explore these resources to learn more:
  • Volunteer: Develop a list of volunteer projects within your school district or partner with a local organization to plan a project.
  • Photo Booth: Create a sesquicentennial photo booth in the school entrance or gym and encourage students to get their photo taken wearing the colors from our city flag (green, blue, yellow, and white).

Suggested Reading List

Explore the Suggested Reading List for ideas for books to read as a class or family.

150th ADVENTURE PASSPORT: Coming May 2021!

  • Explore the City’s cultural, historical, and natural resources! Starting in May of 2021 students and their families can download the passport on this website or visit any of the participating sites to pick up a copy (limited supplies). Help us spread the word to your students about this FREE and educational program!

Let's Connect!

Share your projects with the Sesquicentennial Education Committee & The City of Colorado Springs!

  • If you share a sesquicentennial project on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #COS150 and tag the city @CityofCOS
  • Do you have questions or want to connect to the City’s Sesquicentennial Education Committee? Contact Meg Poole, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Program Coordinator