Lesson Plan

The Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol, grades 6-9

Color photo of teenage visitors gathered around the Liberty Bell in a semi-circle with a male park ranger standing off to the side.
The Liberty Bell represents concepts like freedom and independence.

NPS photo

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Ninth Grade
Subject:
Community, History, Social Studies
Duration:
Three to four class sessions
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Reading Information Text RI 5.1, RI 5.2, RI 5.3, RI 5.7, Writing W 5.2, W 5.4, Reading History RH (6-8).1, RH (6-8).2, RH (6-8).7
Keywords:
Liberty Bell, Freedom, Symbolism

Overview

Students will understand that the Liberty Bell represents concepts like independence and freedom, but those concepts can have many meanings.

Objective(s)

  • Students will understand that a symbol is a drawing or an object that stands for something else. A symbol can represent things that are too large to carry around, like a highway, or a symbol can represent things that are abstract.
  • The students will be able to identify and differentiate patriotic symbols (specifically the Liberty Bell) from other symbols they use in everyday life.
  • The students will realize that nations have symbols that represent their beliefs, values and ideas.
  • The students will understand that the Liberty Bell is an important symbol that represents our nation's independence and freedom and liberty to many groups.

Materials

This lesson offers many options for the teacher. Please read through the lesson for materials required, and use the attached handouts.

Procedure

Assessment

See Handout #3, Handout #4, and Handout #5

Park Connections

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

Extensions

Independent Student Activities:
The students will choose one of the following 3 activities: (these activities will be completed at home and returned to school the next day)

Activity 1: Each student will create their own personal symbol of freedom;either by drawing or cutting out a picture. On the back of the index card the student will explain why they choose that particular symbol. The teacher will give the class the example that a sixteen year old might use a set of car keys as their symbol for their freedom.

Activity 2:
Using the handout provided the student will create four symbols for each of the following categories: patriotic, commercial, sports, directional road signs, punctuation and holidays. The students will create their symbols by drawing or cutting pictures from magazines and gluing it to their paper. (*Handout #2)

Activity 3:
The student will create a Venn Diagram comparing the Liberty Bell to another patriotic symbol, such as Mount Rushmore, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, the American Flag or the Bald Eagle.

  • Rubrics are attached to assess the above activities. Handouts #3, 4, and 5 provided.

Post Visit-Extension Activities:

"Create Your Own Bell!"
Objective: The students will create their own bell.

Materials:
  • 4" clay flower pot
  • Glue
  • Washer or lug nut (heavy)
  • Sturdy yarn
  • Pictures of patriotic symbols
  • Photocopy of the inscription from the Liberty Bell

Procedure:
The students will attach a heavy washer or lug nut to a piece of yarn to create the clapper for their bell. They will invert a 4" clay flower pot and thread yarn through the hole tying a knot outside the hole so the clapper can move freely. The students can either decorate the pot by gluing pictures of symbols to the outside of the flower pot or they could glue the original inscription from the Liberty Bell onto their own pot.

Additional Activity Worksheets:
1. Acrostic worksheet, used with the vocabulary words listed below Handout #6

2. In conjunction with the United Streaming video, the students will create a booklet with the four symbols of our nation. The students will fold an 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper into quarters and cut along the fold lines. On each square they will draw one of the four symbols: the American Flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and the American Bald Eagle. Under each picture they will write one fact that they learned form the video. The squares can be glued to a piece of construction paper to make a "Patriotic Symbol Booklet."

Vocabulary

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
Freedom – being able to go where you want or to do what you want
Independent – free from the control of other people or another country
Inhabitants – people who live in an area
Immigrants – people who leave the country of their birth to move to a new country
Liberty – freedom
Proclaim – to announce to all people
Rung – having made a clear musical sound
State House – the meeting place for the leaders of Pennsylvania
Symbol – a drawing or object that stands for something else
Toll – the sound of a ringing bell
Yoke – a thick piece of wood from which a bell hangs