Lesson Plan

The Early Years of the State House Bell

Close up of the inscription on the Liberty Bell, focusing on the word

NPS photo

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Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Fifth Grade
History, Social Studies
Three class sessions
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Common Core Standards
Reading Information Text CCRI 5.1
Reading Information Text CCRI 5.2
Writing CCW 5.2


This lesson brings students to understand the uses of the Pennsylvania State House bell during colonial times and as it was evolving into the powerful icon of the Liberty Bell.


  • Students will identify and list at least three uses of tower bells during colonial times.
  • Students will explain the meaning of the State House Bell's inscription and create their own bell and inscription.
  • Students will use a graphic organizer to categorize key events of the State House Bell's history in Pennsylvania.
  • Students will understand and appreciate the economic and political decision-making processes of early colonist.


Students should be familiar with Pennsylvania's early history and such terms as William Penn, colony, Quakers, Charter of Privileges, and Pennsylvania Assembly.


Materials Needed:

  • The Liberty Bell by Gail Sakurai
  • Our Liberty Bell by Henry Jonas Magaziner
  • The Liberty Bell by Mary Firestone
  • A paper with the following message written on it: "Get everyone in the class to move up to the _____________(circle-time) area and wait for directions.
  • Toothpick
  • Various soft vegetables or fruit
  • Four handouts:
    Handout 1 Message
    Handout 2 Overhead
    Handout 3
    Handout 4



Extension/Assessment for Lesson 1:

1. Tell the class that Isaac Norris chose a quote he felt was fitting for the bell and for the celebration of the Charter of Pennsylvania’s and its 50th year. Now you want them to choose a quote that is fitting to represent not Pennsylvania, but our classroom community.

2. Teacher reviews the direction sheet as well as the provided grading rubric.

3. Distribute the Inscription Mission. (Handout #5 and have students complete using the direction sheet provided (Handout #6).

4. Complete this final copy on outline of bell (Handout #7) 

Post Visit Assessment:

  • Prior to visiting ….Ask the students to memorize the Liberty Bell’s inscription and while at the Liberty Bell, students should record at least three new facts about why the Liberty Bell is seen as a symbol for freedom for people all over the world.

  • After visiting the Liberty Bell:
    1. A class discussion will ensue about how the Liberty Bell Center developed the theme that the Old State House Bell truly represents liberty. List key events and people that the students recall seeing associated with the Liberty Bell.
    2. Pass out a new bell (See handout in image attachment). Have the students record the Liberty Bell’s inscription on this bell. Then have them write a brief paragraph of what the inscription and the bell means to the people all over the world. The paragraph should be supported with factual information discussed in class and observed in the center.
    3. Collect and display.


Park Connections

This lesson plan helps students understand the history of this international symbol of liberty.


The assessments can also be used as extensions.


(See Handout 3)
Isaac Norris
State House Bell

Last updated: February 26, 2015