About This Lesson
Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in which Independence Hall is located, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Independence Hall is a World Heritage Site. This lesson is based on the World Heritage List Nomination "Independence Hall," the National Register of Historic Places registration file "Independence National Historical Park" (with photographs), and other materials on Independence Hall and the founding of the United States of America. The lesson was written by Brenda K. Olio, former Teaching with Historic Places historian, and edited by staff of the Teaching with Historic Places program and Independence National Historical Park.
The lesson was made possible by Independence National Historical Park. The staff of the National Park Service's Office of International Affairs provided invaluable assistance in securing this partnership between the national park and the TwHP program. The lesson grew out of a desire on the part of the park, the Office of International Affairs, and others to inform the public about the United Nations World Heritage List and also about the importance of recognizing and protecting resources of "outstanding universal value" throughout the world. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, government, civics, and geography courses in units on colonial America, the early National period, American political history, or the global influence of American democratic political ideals. The lesson also could be used in a unit on commemoration or Heritage Conservation.
Time period:Mid 18th century through early 21st century
Relevant United States and World History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To determine why Philadelphia became the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention and to examine the results of these gatherings
2) To explain the major principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and consider the global impact of both documents
3) To describe the significance of Independence Hall and examine the process by which it became a World Heritage Site
4) To consider the importance of recognizing and protecting resources of "outstanding universal value"
5) To find and conduct research on local government buildings
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing the 13 colonies and Philadelphia in the colonial period;
2) three readings describing the history of Independence Hall and the World Heritage Convention;
3) images of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and partial transcripts;
4) three photos of Independence Hall today;
5) one painting of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Visiting the site
Independence Hall is located within Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The park is open daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center located at 6th and Market Streets. Here you can pick up a park brochure, park map, and free timed tickets for guided tours of Independence Hall.
For more information, visit the park's website.