This December I had the honor of participating in the "Quest for the Liberty Bell" through the National Parks Service at Independence Hall. They ran a professional development program where teachers could get a "backstage tour" of the home of the Liberty Bell, and even climb up the bell tower (that's off-limits to the public during normal tours). Knowing my love of history and Philadelphia, you know just how excited I was to attend this event!
- Although Enlightenment ideas began in France, the United States was the first country to seriously implement these ideas.
- That unless Enlightenment ideas are used to influence political power, then it is just "fluff"- it's the application to power and politics that made the Enlightenment "a thing".
- The significance of various themes of modern history- living to one's full potential, the search for truth , and the value of being a "polymath", or well rounded individual.
- The significance of symbolism and how they reinforce these and other ideas
- How history does not exist in subjects- how science, engineering, history, the arts (and the humanities in general) coexist in every element of society
Next, we went across the street to Independence Hall. My students know that I have been there several times. Heck, we even have a pretend "sun chair" in our classroom! Yet this tour was to be a first for me: we were to climb up the many levels of the bell tower and witness its many wonders!
" This is a worthless piece of metal, it's your belief in what it symbolizes that makes it worth something." - Jeffrey Collins, NPS
Students: In the comments section, please explain how this quest combined the arts/humanities with science/engineering. I mentioned some ideas above, but please be more specific in your answer. It is essential to view the Storify above in order to complete your response. "A contract" students should mention specific tweets (they are time stamped, so refer to the time.) For an effective answer, this should lead you to conduct some additional research. Look to the NPS website and tweets for inspiration. Feel free to reply on others comments for elaboration (you may discover something about, for example, a clock, that they did not mention!) Please be original in your comments.
In the meantime, I hope this post inspired you to visit this National Park, as well as others. It is my desire that it leads you on your own "Quest For the Liberty Bell," and your own understanding of what it represents.