Ideas for a Liberty Bell School Project

The Liberty Bell is a national symbol of American independence.
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School projects about the Liberty Bell should help students learn the history of this American symbol of freedom, motivate them to ask questions about the meaning of liberty and spark discussions about why the bell is still important. Use cross-curricular learning for Liberty Bell projects by incorporating art, English, science and social studies to foster a deeper understandings of these concepts.

1 Craft the Bell as Art

Replicating the Liberty Bell with an art project gives students a hands-on opportunity to learn about how it was constructed. The Liberty Bell is cast from bronze-colored copper and tin, and the yoke and clapper are made of dark brown elm. Students sculpting a realistic replica of the Liberty Bell from clay could use a bronze patina or aged copper glaze to recreate the reddish brown hue of the bell, and black and walnut brown glazes to mimic the color of the aged elm yoke and clapper. The project could include a painting of the Liberty Bell in realistic colors, such as burnt sienna, brown ochre, copper and bronze for the bell, and brown oxide, raw umber and black for the yoke. The painting could then be cut out and placed on a background that has been painted with patriotic red, white and blue colors to evoke the significance of the Liberty Bell as a symbol of independence.

2 Take a Virtual Field Trip

Simulate a journey to Independence Mall in Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell is housed. To achieve this, visit the National Park Service Virtual Liberty Bell Keystone Tour , a 360-degree interactive panoramic simulation of the Liberty Bell that lets students see it up close and from any angle. Watch the PBS video "Liberty Bell" for a tour of the monument guided by a museum curator. Or, visit the website From Obscurity to Icon to explore the historical and cultural influences that shaped the Liberty Bell's creation.

3 Create a School Symbol

The Liberty Bell became a national symbol of independence because its peal was intended to "proclaim liberty throughout the land," which are among the words inscribed on the bell, according to Students can apply their understanding of this symbolism by creating an image that represents the spirit of their school. Have students collaborate to think of an icon that connects with something important in their school community. They can create a depiction of the image in a sign, emblem or figure. For example, students in a Pennsylvania elementary school chose the symbol of a tool belt to go along with their motto of "Building a Foundation." They created paper tool belts and cardboard hard hats to wear as they marched in a local Independence Day parade as well as a painting of their school mascot wearing a tool belt that hangs in the school's lobby.

4 Build a Liberty Bell Website

Creating a website to be shared with others is an engaging research project that incorporates social studies and language arts. Teachers can create teams of students to research different parts of the story of the Liberty Bell, such as when and where it was cast, the composition and size of the bell, how it got its name, how it got its crack and where it is located. Each student on a team should have a role, such as generating questions, gathering images or taking notes. Students can work together and with the teacher to organize their information, write paragraphs and publish their work as a website. The website can then be shared with the entire community on the school or district's website.

Based in Philadelphia, Marybeth Kufen has been teaching since 2007, and has been writing education-related articles since 2013. She holds a master's degree in elementary education and is a certified Reading Specialist. Kufen was named Teacher of the Year for her district in 2014.