Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Liberty Bell Day

Today we had a bit of fun learning about the Liberty Bell. July 8, 1776 is the first day it was rung. The bell was rung to summon the people to come and hear the first reading of the Declaration Of Independence. There's a lot of history about this amazing American Icon, and we were highly amazed to see how long it took them (a year) to finally hang the bell up. We also learned the bell spent a good part of it's life locked up under the floorboards of a church to keep it safe from the British during the war. The boys found that fact very amazing, they've had some unusual war-like questions ever since we used the book Grandfather's Journey for a school unit lesson. They also wanted to know what I thought the British would have done had they been able to capture the bell. That was a pretty fair question, and my guess was that it might possibly have been melted down for bullets, or worse used to summon people into town. Chances are it would have also taken away a lot of hope the townspeople had, but of course this is all pure speculation. The boys were pretty impressed I had an opinion and ideas. I'm pretty certain they'll bring metal to me in the near future and ask if I can melt it for them...

The boys knew about George Washington, as we've started discussing him for our president study, so they were delighted to hear the bell was also rung for Washington's Birthday. I'm not sure if their excitement lasted once they realized the bell cracked again and was left that way after it was rung for him. I was impressed to see that on every 4th of July children who are descendants of Declaration signers get to tap the bell 13 times (13 represents the original colonies!) If my Great-Grandmother was correct, that means my children are eligible to tap the bell.. Kinda makes you want to pull out the old family tree, doesn't it?

Morgan also enjoyed doing a quick craft. We covered a foam cup in foil, attached a toilet paper tube with a pipe cleaner, and he drew the crack on his bell. It has grey string on it because he wants to hang it up, he was wearing it around his neck for a while. It's suppose to have a little jingle bell inside of it, but I'm afraid I was fresh out. When I broke the news to Morgan he wasn't at all upset, "I really didn't expect it to be noisy Mom, it's just a cup you know."

You can read more about the Liberty Bell here, and see a timeline here. You can see more specific details of our craft here. If you're interested in a coloring sheet there's one here, and a much more realistic one here. As for a good book, you might have to recommend one to me, cause our library has zilch on this topic! This was a very fun way to briefly discuss a piece of American History. I suspect I'll be searching for a good read aloud so we can learn a bit more about the Liberty Bell. Oh, and if you're really game, National Treasure Two has a lot of tidbits and fun information about the Liberty Bells in them. Both of those videos are big favorites in this family.

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