Lesson Plan

The Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol, grades 9-12, Lesson 1

Color photo of a group of teens looking at the Liberty Bell while a male park ranger stands off to the side.
People gather at the Liberty Bell - sometimes in protest and sometimes in celebration.

NPS photo

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Grade Level:
Ninth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Community, History, Social Studies
Three 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


Students will conduct research, interpret information, present information, and synthesize information in this lesson about the Liberty Bell.


Students will be able to:

  • List patriotic symbols and explain the meaning of them
  • Understand the definition for symbol, symbolism, patriotic, inhabitants, liberty, and icon
  • Research a given topic thoroughly, with reliable sources
  • Present information, creatively, with group members
  • Interpret information presented to them by writing down main facts/ideas about other groups' performances
  • Synthesize information to formulate a thoughtful essay about the implementation of the Liberty Bell as a modern symbol, specifically on the Forever Stamp


Computers with internet access
Books with information about the history of the Liberty Bell (encyclopedias and the books mentioned at the end of the lesson)
Research sheets
Graphic organizers
Students' notebooks



Use WS#3 and WS #4

Park Connections

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


Refer back to the essential questions and have the students answer the questions in essay format and grade according to the state's holistic writing assessment rubric.
1. What is a symbol? What is symbolism?
2. What does the Liberty Bell represent to each of you?
3. Explain your answer from the second question.
4. Is the Bell a successful example as a symbol?
5. Are there any other symbols that represent freedom/liberty that you can name?
6. Compare and contrast the Liberty Bell and the United States of America.
7. Post visit extension: Students will compose a one to two page essay explaining why the United States Postal Service selected the Liberty Bell to be the picture on their forever stamp, using the information they acquired throughout the entire "Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol" lesson.

Other Activities:

1. Stamp
After visiting Independence National Historical Park, the students may have more symbols to add to their original list of national/patriotic symbols. Using this completed list, the students should select one symbol to create another Forever stamp. Here are the directions: "The United States Postal Service has asked us for their assistance in adding another symbol for their series of Forever Stamps. Please select another patriotic symbol and create a stamp using its image. Be sure to fill your stamp and color it. Use the crafty scissors to create the stamp-like edges. Then on the back, write why you chose this symbol for your "Forever" stamp. Be persuasive! You want your stamp chosen by the USPS!"

2. Liberty Bell Formation (entire school)
On the playground or any large space, students from the entire school can stand in the shape of the Liberty Bell, like the soldiers at Fort Dix when they made "The Human Liberty Bell". This may be a good activity to do on/near Veterans' Day or Memorial Day to remember the soldiers who fought/are fighting for our country and, again, review the meanings the Liberty Bell had and has throughout history. Prior to the "formation" day, Social Studies teachers should discuss and analyze the photograph with their students.

See The Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol 9-12 Lesson 1 lesson plan for graphic of Human Liberty Bell.

3. Tri-fold
Students can make a brochure with information about the Liberty Bell. On the front page, students will write a title for their brochure, paste a picture(s) of the Liberty Bell, and write its inscription. On the inside left page, students will reveal background information about the Bell. On the three remaining interior panels, students will design informative pages that describe how the following groups viewed and utilized the Bell: Abolitionists, Suffragists, and Civil Rights leaders. Pictures are also encouraged on those panels. On the back panel, students should decide how the Bell is thought of by Americans and people throughout the world as a modern symbol.

4."Liberty Web"
Students will divide a blank paper into four sections (or large construction paper if you would like). In each section, students will illustrate a scene to represent the different groups who utilized/utilize the Liberty Bell as a symbol. In the middle of the paper (so that each section is encompassed), the students should write the title, "Liberty Bell." On the back of each section or on the bottom, students will describe each illustration choice and why the bell was chosen by the group depicted in each scene.


Icon – an image; a representation
Inhabitants –one that lives or resides in a place
Liberty – the condition of being free from restriction or control
Patriotism – love of and devotion to one’s country
Symbol – something that represents something else by association or resemblance
Symbolism – the practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events or relationships

Last updated: September 11, 2015