Lesson Plan

Debating Liberty- Post Statue of Liberty Lesson Plan

A view of the Statue of Liberty at sunset.

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Subject:
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.

Objective

Students will analyze historic quotes to determine whether the speakers were for or against the Statue of Liberty’s arrival. Students will then roleplay as those speakers to debate over whether or not to accept the statue.

Background

About 150 years earlier, politicians and the public both debated on whether the United States should accept the Statue of Liberty. In Debating Liberty, students will play the role of a citizen weighing the benefits/drawbacks of receiving the soon-to-arrive statue.
 

Preparation

Prior to the lesson, pull up an image of the Statue of Liberty on a Smartboard or write out the words “Statue of Liberty” on a whiteboard.

Materials

Debating Liberty Lesson Plan.

Download Debating Liberty

Lesson Hook/Preview

Ask students about any thoughts or feelings that come to mind when they think about the Statue of Liberty.

Procedure

 

  1. Prior to the lesson, pull up an image of the Statue of Liberty on a Smartboard or write out the words “Statue of Liberty” on a whiteboard.
 
  1. Ask students about any thoughts or feelings that come to mind when they think about the Statue of Liberty. Record their responses.
 
  1. Explain that before the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York, there was a fierce debate about whether or not the United States should accept it. And today, they will be taking part in that debate through role-play.
  2. Prompt students for an explanation of role-play and debate. Once students have established that they will be playing characters in the debate, ask them to come up with some good rules it. How can they have a debate that is constructive? How can they make sure everyone is heard? Write down their ideas.
 
  1. Students split into groups, no more than six, and each group picks up a quote card.
 
  1. Students read and analyze the quote card to determine whether or not the speaker was for, against, or ambivalent about accepting the statue.
 
  1. Students then explain how they know by listing clues in the text that support their position.
 
  1. Once students have figured out the perspective of their quote card, they nominate a representative to debate their position. The question is “Should the United States accept the Statue of Liberty?” Remind students of the rules they came up with earlier for a good debate.
 
  1. Representatives from each group come to the front of the room and debate their positions.
 
  1. When all of the representatives have had a turn, and any rebuttals have been heard, ask the class if they can reach a consensus on whether or not to accept the statue. Hold a blind vote to determine who is in favor and who is not. Invite students to share how they came to their positions.

Vocabulary

Benefit- an advantage or profit gained from something.
Drawback- a feature that renders something less acceptable; a disadvantage or problem.
Debate- a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.
Ambivalent- having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.
Perspective- a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

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Last updated: March 14, 2018