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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Independence National Historical Park" (with photographs), and other sources about the Liberty Bell. It was written by Joanne C. Blacoe, Park Ranger at Independence National Historical Park. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in units on 18th- and 19th-century American history and in civics and government courses. Students will practice their skills of evaluating the accuracy of historical sources, and of observation, analysis, and interpretation related to history, geography, and the social sciences.
Time period: Late 18th century, 19th century, early 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To analyze the historical and cultural influences that shaped the symbolic meaning of the Liberty Bell.
2) To critically evaluate the reliability of particular sources as a way of determining historical accuracy.
3) To determine from the historical record how popular ideas about the past are shaped and changed by current events.
4) To research the way patriotic symbols are used in their own communities as well as the nation.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) three maps showing the Philadelphia area as it appeared in 1777 and today;
2) three readings compiled from documents contemporary to several different time periods;
3) one timetable from the Liberty Bell's travels;
4) six photographs of the Liberty Bell, both modern and historical.

Visiting the site
The Liberty Bell is part of the Independence National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service. It is located on Market Street between Fifth and Sixth streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and may be viewed at any time, day or night, year round. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Independence National Historical Park, 313 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 or visit the park's web pages.



Comments or Questions

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