Lesson Plan

Liberty Bell Time Line

The Liberty Bell, from State House Bell to international symbol of freedom and liberty

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
K.RI.1, K.RI.2, 3.RI.1, 3.RI.2, 3.RI.3, 3.RI.4, 4.RI.1, 4.RI.2, 4.RI.3, 4.RI.4, 5.RI.1, 5.RI.2, 5.RI.3, 5.RI.4, 6.RI.1, 6.RI.2, 6.RI.3, 6.RI.4
Additional Standards:
National Standards for History Grades K-4
Topic 3: The History of the United States
Standard 4A, 4D, 4E
Standard 5A
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words.


Essential Question: Why is the Liberty Bell an important symbol in our history?

•Students will construct a time line of historical events regarding the Liberty Bell in proper sequential order.
•Students will reenact the assigned historical event from the time line.
•Students will understand how to construct a time line to represent historical facts of the Liberty Bell from 1751 to the present.


Students will create a time line to trace the evolution of the Liberty Bell from its use as the State House bell to an international symbol of freedom and liberty. The teacher is responsible for providing the bulk of resource materials and readings on the Liberty Bell background information. Two readings have been included from ReadWorks.org: 190 Lexile and 960 Lexile.

This lesson plan can be altered for many grades, but currently is in the format for 3-6, based on the worksheet's reading levels and density.



  • Cardstock/Construction paper
  • Research materials & student notes
  • Art Supplies
  • Rulers
  • Date/event cards - optional
  • Copies of worksheets and readings for students


A reading from ReadWorks.org at 190 Lexile, appropriate for K-1 or struggling readers. Comes with questions, but can be used solely for background reading.

Download Liberty Bell Reading - 190L

A reading from ReadWorks.org at 960 Lexile, appropriate for 4-6 grades or advanced readers. Comes with questions, but can be used solely for background reading.

Download A Tricky Move - 5th Grade Reading

List of historic events related to the Liberty Bell which students must put in order.

Download Out of Order Time Line

Short Answer Questions

Download Liberty Bell Worksheet 1

Worksheets for students to record resources and prepare for an oral presentation on the topic.

Download Presentation and Resource Guide Worksheet

Lesson Hook/Preview

Introduction (before the lesson):

  • Review use of symbols and symbolism regarding the Liberty Bell
  • Make enough copies of Worksheet #1 Essential Questions for each student
  • Review how to construct a horizontal bar shaped time line
  • Prior knowledge of researched historical events/dates assigned for the Liberty Bell time line
  • Make enough copies of Worksheet #2 Historical Events for each student
  • Do read aloud or independent reading of ReadWorks.org material (optional)



Whole Class Discussion:
1.  Teacher writes the essential questions from Worksheet #1 and guides the students in answering the questions.
2.  Students participate in a class discussion of Worksheet #1 and their researched events on the Liberty Bell for the time line.

Teacher-Directed Instruction:

Teacher advises the students of the expectations for constructing the time line, including the roles of cooperative groups in regard to connecting the continuous time line.  (Students will move into groups of 3 or 4 to create this continuous time line).  Then the teacher explains the details of the whole class "skit" presentation (each student will be responsible to deliver orally with a prop pertaining to ONE of the assigned dates/events).

Independent Student Activity:

Students construct a Liberty Bell time line showing four events that have been previously researched for Worksheet #3 (check for accuracy with provided dates on Worksheet #2).  Then student will design a "prop" for his/her part in whole class "skit" of the Liberty Bell time line.

Another alternative activity for Worksheet #2 is to have the students select what they think are the "top 10" Liberty Bell events and write the reasons for their choices.  Teachers should show how many chose even event with a tally chart so that the class may discuss their responses.  Make a "top 10" chart from the collaboration and post it in the room.

Cooperative work:

Students will join their assigned cooperative groups to combine and extend the Liberty Bell time line showing proper chronological order.


1.  Each group attaches their time line in the appropriate chronological order so that the time line is representative of the assigned dates.  Each student then presents a short oral presentation or "skit" with their prop about their assigned date.

2.  Students will be assessed on correct chronological placement of the historical events on the time line as well as through a brief individual oral presentation "skit" for assigned date/event.


1. Time Line: a chronological order of events
2. Symbol: an object that stands for an idea, a country, or a person
3. Symbolism: the representation of one object by another
4. Sequence: progression of events
5. Historical: dealing with the past

Assessment Materials


Use teacher-rubric on last page of lesson plan to grade student's work and participation.

Supports for Struggling Learners

Use 190 Lexile level reading. 

Remove 5 dates from the timeline to declutter the worksheet.

Enrichment Activities

Assign the higer level reading. If students finish early, they can attempt to quiz each other using the ReadWorks questions.  

Additional Resources



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Last updated: July 24, 2015