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Welcome to America

Design a miniature Statue of Liberty—to scale! Inspire small groups of future engineers, poets, lawyers, and journalists to collaborate.

  • Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Ask students, in small groups, to research how the Statue of Liberty came about. What people and countries were involved? Why was it developed? How was the location selected? How was the statue financed? What was involved in its construction? Which materials were used? What are its dimensions? Why does this island-bound woman still bring tears to the eyes of tourists as well as immigrants and visitors to the United States? An excellent resource is Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares.
    2. Groups share their findings with the class. Compare and contrast the information.
    3. Challenge each group to build a replica of the Statue of Liberty—to scale. Help groups identify any additional information for the project.
    4. Supervise groups to make measurements and calculations in both metric and US systems. Offer Crayola© Erasable Colored Pencils and graph paper to sketch their models.
    5. Ask each group to prepare an engineering plan, outlining the steps and responsibilities of each team member in construction of the statue. What is the timeline for completion?
    6. Guide each group to make a list of all construction materials and tools needed to make the replica sculpture. Encourage use of armatures such as a recycled water bottle for the body (partially filled with water or sand for stability) and wire for Lady Liberty’s extended arms (floral wire bends and cuts easily). Promote inventiveness!
    7. With students, gather tools and materials. Have each group organize their own work space.
    8. Oversee the construction process and offer suggestions about art techniques. Crayola Model Magic® that is fresh from the pack will stick to itself. Roll it thin to cover the armature. Cut pieces with scissors. Refer to photos and drawings to add details. Use modeling tools to shape fabric folds, delicate fingers, and other areas. Dried pieces can be glued together.
    9. Ask students to check their working drawings to make sure the sculpture remains proportional. When the work is complete, air-dry completely.
    10. After it is dry, students paint the structure with Crayola Washable Watercolors and Brushes. The colors could be realistic—or imaginative! Ask each group to choose colors that reflect the ideals represented by the statue.
    11. Assess how well students worked together, how accurate their drawings and sculptures were, and how inventive their process for using armatures and paint was. What challenges did they overcome? What did they discover about making a sculpture? About working together?
    12. Students compare and contrast each other’s works to analyze how well they achieved their goals. What knowledge and skills can they apply in similar situations? What would they do differently?
  • Standards

    LA: Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text.

    LA: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

    MATH: Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Explore ways that language, art, music, belief systems, and other cultural elements may facilitate global understanding or lead to misunderstanding.

    SCI: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

    VA: Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.

    VA: Interpret art by distinguishing between relevant and non-relevant contextual information and analyzing subject matter, characteristics of form and structure, and use of media to identify ideas and mood conveyed.

  • Adaptations

    Encourage students to talk with their families about their immigrant and/or indigenous histories. What did they learn about their families?

    Ask students to write and speak about their impressions and experiences with designing the Statue of Liberty. What does this statue mean to them?

    Continue construction: use boxes and other recycled materials to complete the base of the statue, the island, perhaps even the entire harbor.

    Choose one of the occupations of the individuals who played roles in creating the statue. How are those careers similar today? How have they changed?

    Urge children to write a poem that they would like to see inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. Read these poems to families and other students in the school.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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