The Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol, grades 6-9
- Grade Level:
- Sixth Grade-Ninth Grade
- Community, History, Social Studies
- Three to four class sessions
- Group Size:
- Up to 36
- 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
- Liberty Bell, Freedom, Symbolism
OverviewStudents will understand that the Liberty Bell represents concepts like independence and freedom, but those concepts can have many meanings.
- 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.
This lesson offers many options for the teacher. Please read through the lesson for materials required, and use the attached handouts.
Before the Lesson:
1. Teacher will pass out Handout #1 and play John Phillips Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" and then play the music of "Oh Christmas Tree." Have the students follow along with the song created by teacher, JoAnne Osborn.
2. The teacher will explain to the class the definition of a symbol: an object or drawing that stands for something else. The teacher will point out some obvious symbols easily seen within the classroom.
3. The students will be given a 3"x 5" index card with the instructions to glue or draw a symbol that has special meaning for them on the card.
At home that night the student will draw, download, or find in a magazine a symbol that has a special meaning for them; they will attach it to the 3"x 5" index card. The student will also write the reason why the symbol has special meaning for them on the back of the index card.
The student will share with a partner the symbol they choose and explain why they chose that symbol.
Teacher –Directed Instruction "Name That Symbol Game."
1. Prior to the game the teacher collects a variety of symbols like in the following categories: patriotic, religious, commercial, sports, directional signs, punctuation, and holiday symbols.
2. The teacher divides a bulletin board into the different categories. (If there isn't bulletin board space available use separate pieces of chart paper attached to the walls).
3. The teacher will have also created flashcards with various symbols from these groups. (Teacher tip: laminate flashcards for durability!) Some examples are attached at the end of this lesson.
4. The students will be randomly divided into 2 equal teams. Each team will form a single line; the first 2 students from each team will stand in front of the teacher at a desk with 2 bells on it.
1. The teacher will show the first flashcard. The student who rings in first has the opportunity to identify the symbol. If the student has correctly identified the symbol he/she has earned 1 point for his/her team. To earn an extra point the student will confer with the rest of his team to determine which category on the bulletin board the symbol belongs in. If the student who rings in first does not correctly identify the symbol the student from the opposing team has the chance to earn the points. The teacher can keep score by making tally marks on the blackboard. The game continues until all students have had the opportunity to try to identify a symbol.
2. (Optional: Membership needed) The class will view the Unitedstreaming video: U.S. Symbols (www.unitedstreaming.com)
3. The symbols of our country help us honor our heritage and think of the U.S. as a country of hope, freedom, and friendship. The students will learn about the history of our country's symbols and what they mean to Americans. The video includes the American Flag, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and the American Bald Eagle. The video is 17 minutes long.
4. There is a teachers' guide included that may be used in conjunction with the video.
Whole Class Discussion:
1. When the game has been completed the class will discuss the differences between the categories. Are there any symbols that could have been placed in more than one category? What is the significance of the different categories? Is any category more important than another category? Why do we use symbols?
2. The teacher will ask the class to focus on the Liberty Bell as a symbol. The teacher will read the inscription form the Liberty Bell. "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." Why is it an important symbol for freedom? Does the fact that the bell is cracked make it less important as a symbol? Why do you think the U.S. Postal Service decided to use the Liberty Bell on the "Forever Stamp?"
1. The teacher will ask the student to work with a partner to write a simple explanation of what they think the inscription on the Liberty Bell means. The students will be asked to share their ideas with the rest of the class.
This lesson plan helps students understand the symbolism of the Liberty Bell.
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.
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)
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.
- 4" clay flower pot
- Washer or lug nut (heavy)
- Sturdy yarn
- Pictures of patriotic symbols
- Photocopy of the inscription from the Liberty Bell
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."
VocabularyBellman – 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