The Liberty Bell as a Modern Symbol, grades 9-12, Lesson 2
- Grade Level:
- Ninth Grade-Twelfth Grade
- Community, History, Social Studies
- Two to 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, Symbolism, LGBT
OverviewStudents will learn the connection between the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the LGBT Civil Rights Movement.
- Students will be able to identify and explain the connection between the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the LGBT Civil Rights Movement.
- Students will examine and analyze photographs and a historical marker to identify and research the key people involved in the movement and exemplify their understanding of how the Liberty Bell has been used as a symbol by various groups, particularly by young activists during the Civil Rights era.
- Brief summary of the Liberty Bell's history found at www.nps.gov/inde/historyculture/stories-libertybell
- Background of the Equality Movement found at http://www.gaypioneers.com/
- Photograph of march in front of Independence Hall (attached and at www.gaypioneers.com/)
- Primary Source Document Analysis for Photographs (found at www.archives.gov/education/lessons/worksheets/photo_analysis_worksheet.pdf)
- Rubric for Biography & Essential Questions
Before the Lesson:
1. It is very important that the teaching approach of this lesson is understood through the introduction of the essential questions. Post the questions on chart paper and tell the students that the goal of this lesson is to be able to answer the questions at a level of proficiency:
- What does the Liberty Bell represent to activists in the Civil Rights movement of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT)?
- On what other groups' experiences with the Liberty Bell as a symbol do Civil Rights activists draw?
- Is the Liberty Bell successful in helping the Civil Rights activists meet their goals?
- Compare and contrast the fight of the Women's' Suffrage Movement of the 1900s to the ongoing fight of the gays and lesbians for equality in marriage (Project 1138).
2. It would be helpful to give some background knowledge on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Movement. Play the short video of LGBT History Month found at www.equalityforum.com.
3. Tell the students that they will be choosing a person from last year's LGBT History month and researching and writing a biography and a presentation on their important person.
Whole Class Discussion:
1. Pass out the Primary Source analysis handout found at the end of this lesson. Review the worksheet with the students.
2. Show the photo of the Civil Rights demonstration for gay equality (www.gaypioneers.com) and found at end of the lesson.
3. Ask students to determine the era based on visual cues (e.g. clothing, hair styles, and location of the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall). Have students predict why these people are marching.
4. Then have students fill out their analysis sheets.
5. Explain that the students were participants in the march in search of equal rights for gays and lesbians in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
6. Ask the students why they would choose a place like this for their march.
7. Begin to ask for input on answering the essential questions.
1. Students will read the brief history of the Liberty Bell and review the biographies found on the www.equalityforum.com website and choose their biographical topic.
2. Students will need research time at home or on the computer.
1. Students will share research in small groups and add to essential questions by posting sticky notes on the essential question chart paper.
2. Students should brainstorm the answer to the question, "Why would this group choose the Liberty Bell as a symbol for their movement?"
3. Also, "How is this current movement similar to the Suffrage Movement in the 1900s and how is it different? Do you think the outcome will be the same over time?"
Whole Class Discussion:
Have students share the ideas generated during their brainstorming session. Elicit or present the following responses:
- Inscription on the Liberty Bell reads, "proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof"; currently the LGBT community is fighting for equal rights in marriage.
- The Liberty Bell has been used by various groups seeking rights including abolitionists and women's suffrage activists. Similar to the Civil Rights movement, abolitionists sought freedom for African-Americans, and suffragists sought to extend voting rights to women and others.
- The Liberty Bell is a well-known site; a march there would garner media attention.
- The Liberty Bell is a national symbol; it is associated with the federal government which is the level of government which the activists were seeking to influence. They are trying to achieve equal rights in marriage privileges that gay couples are denied under federal law.
1. Students will continue to research both the essential questions and their selected subject for the biography project.
2. Students will create a poster or tri-fold project that visually addresses the key achievements of the subject.
3. See rubric
4. Students add to the essential questions and answer the questions for an essay assessment.
Use this rubric.
This lesson plan helps students understand the symbolism of the Liberty Bell.
Cooperative Work: Compare and Contrast
- In groups students will create a compare and contrast of the Women's Suffrage Movement and the current movement of the LGBT group. You may use a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram for this activity.
- The women in the Suffrage Movement went to the states to earn voting rights at the state level prior to the passing of the 19th Amendment. Are the LGBT groups proceeding the same way?
- The women in the Suffrage Movement supported and helped to influence the Amendments to grant suffrage to African Americans. Is the LGBT aligned with any other groups?
- What is the progress of the LGBT?
Whole Class Discussion:
1. Tell the students that many groups have more than one symbol for liberty. The LGBT has the rainbow flag.
2. Have students create a flag that exemplifies themselves or their class.