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Teacher Feature

What's Her Story?

Liberty, symbolized as a woman, finds her image on many American coins.  The image on the 1876 twenty-cent coin (May 2003 Coin of the Month), which shows Liberty sitting on a rock, is one of the longest-running designs in American coin history.  But why is this symbol so important to our country?


Introduce your students to the topic of liberty by discussing freedoms that they take for granted, such as wearing the clothes they like, listening to their favorite music, playing with friends from different backgrounds than theirs.  Discuss how they would feel if those freedoms were taken away from them.  Explain that the symbol of Liberty is extremely important because we are a country founded on the idea that people should have choices and freedoms that they were not allowed to have elsewhere.  (This is an opportunity as a starting point for discussing the founding of the United States from the Pilgrims to the founding fathers.)

As a class, brainstorm a list of freedoms that we have in the United States.  Direct each student to write a paragraph and create and illustration which explains why the symbol of Liberty is important to them.  What freedoms do they cherish most?

Learn More

To learn more about Lady Liberty and her significance to the United States, check out the Presidential $1 Coin Reverse page.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Language Arts Standards

Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process:  Students will show their ability to develop a succinct paragraph which contains a topic sentence and additional ideas which support this topic.

Use grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions:  Students will practice using proper English grammar and mechanics while writing their paragraphs.

Social Studies Standards

Individuals Groups & Institutions:  Students will reflect on their personal liberties and how those liberties contribute to their personal identity.

Civic Ideals & Practices:  Students will identify liberty and freedom as key ideals that were involved in the founding of the United States.

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