Lesson Plan

The Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol, grades 3-5

Color photo showing a male park ranger speaking to a group of teens standing in front of the Liberty Bell.
Millions of people visit the Liberty Bell each year.

NPS photo

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
Community, History, Social Studies
Three to five class sessions
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Reading Information Text RI 5.1, Speaking and Listening SL 5.1, SL 5.2
Liberty Bell, Freedom, Symbolism


Students will understand that the Liberty Bell has meant many things to many people, and continues to do so today.


  • The students will develop an understanding of the history of the Liberty Bell.
  • Students will develop an understanding of the history and the symbolism of the Liberty Bell, as well as the many groups that have embraced it.
  • Students will understand that the Liberty Bell has meant many things to many people and continues to do so today.



  • Class Set of: Our Liberty Bell by Henry Jonas Magaziner
  • Pictures of Liberty Bell and the national symbols
  • Flip Book http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/flipbook/ Make sections labeled Our Liberty Bell, The Bell is Born, Important News, When Our Country Was Young, Darkness Then Light, The Bell Helped Other Important Causes, Our Liberty Bell Today and Vocabulary.
  • Various books on the Liberty Bell
  • Chart paper or bulletin board, colored markers
  • Sticky Notes
  • Sentence strips or 3x5 cards
  • Handout #1 Bell Facts K-L Sheet, or any KWL chart
  • Modeling clay or plaster
  • Handout #2 Symbol Sculptures Worksheet
  • Chain of Events Organizer
  • Handout #3 Rubric



Use this rubric.

Park Connections

This lesson helps students understand the symbolism of the Liberty Bell.


Independent Student Activity:
  • Assessment: (Part 1) The students will tell what the Liberty Bell stands for and explain why. (Part 2) Using modeling clay or plaster, the students will now create a symbolic image to represent themselves, and write about what their image represents and the message it may be communicating. After the image is complete they will write about their symbol, using the Symbol Sculpture worksheet. Students will be reminded of using good writing techniques when completing the worksheet.
  • Option: The class may view each others sculptures, and see if they can see the symbolism that was trying to be expressed.

Additional Activity #1:
The teacher will post six events from the book on the board. Students will be instructed to put them in the correct order on the Chain of Events sheet. Extra credit may be given if the student can also include any additional facts about the event. (Handout#3)

Additional Activity #2:
Using the book, have the students fill in Alphaboxes with words having to do with the Liberty Bell. then have them use color pencils and lightly color the events according to what they relate to. Example: early history of the Liberty Bell - red; facts about abolitionists - orange; facts about the Civil Rights Movement - green; facts about suffragists - blue; symbolism of the Liberty Bell today - yellow. (Handout #4)


Symbol- a drawing or an object that stands for something else
Freedom- being able to go where you want or do what you want
Liberty- freedom
Proclaim- to speak out
Inhabitants- people who live in a certain place
Bellman – someone who rings a bell
Cast – to form into a special shape using a mold
Celebrate – to do something fun on a special occasion
Clapper – the metal tongue inside a bell
Coin – a piece of metal with a picture and a number on it that is used as money
Constitution – the system of laws in a country or state that tells the rights of the people and the powers of the government
Crack – a very thin break in something
Declaration of Independence – a document declaring the freedom of the thirteen American colonies from British rule
Independent – free from the control of other people or another country
Immigrants – people who leave the country of their birth to move to a new country
Rung – having made a clear musical sound
State House – the meeting place for the leaders of Pennsylvania
Toll – the sound of a ringing bell
Yoke – a thick piece of wood from which a bell hangs

Last updated: September 11, 2015