Did you know that October 28 is Statue of Liberty Day? On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated before a crowd of onlookers. This year, the Statue of Liberty is 130 years old. This copper statue has become an icon of the United States, symbolizing freedom and welcome to all people from all over the world.
In 1865, Edouard de Laboulaye suggested the creation of a statue as a gesture of goodwill from the people of France to those of the United States. Ten years later, Frederic Bartholdi was asked to design the statue to commemorate the 100th birthday of the Declaration of Independence. In 1884, the Statue of Liberty was completed, and then it was disassembled for shipping. In June of 1884, the crates containing the pieces of the statue arrived in New York City. For over four months, workers labored to assemble Lady Liberty, which had been shipped to the United States from France. Finally, on October 28, 1886, the statue was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland.
Here are some cross-curricular activities to celebrate Statue of Liberty Day in your classroom.
The following word list would make a great discussion for a class. Talk about the meaning of all of these words in relation to the Statue of Liberty: freedom, liberty, colossus, enslavement, independence, oppression and tyranny.
The following people all had important roles to play in the history of the Statue of Liberty; have a brief discussion of the roles of each of these people in this great work: Edouard de Laboulaye, Emma Lazarus, Joseph Pulitzer, Gustav Eiffel and Frederic Auguste Bartholdil.
Calculate the height of the Statue of Liberty by measuring its shadow and that of a person standing on the ground using similar triangles and proportions. For instance, if a man standing on the ground is 6 feet tall, and he casts a shadow of 10 feet, and the Statue of Liberty casts a shadow of 508 feet, find out how tall the Statue is. (The answer is 305 feet.)
The outer surface of the Statue of Liberty was created from copper. Originally, the whole statue gleamed in the sunlight the same way that a brand new penny does. However, over time, the copper has developed what is called a patina, giving the statue its green color. Discuss with your class how this happened. Basically, the same oxidation process that causes iron to rust made the statue change colors. The copper combined with air and water to create a thin layer of copper carbonate on the surface of the statue. This layer protects the copper from environmental damage. Here is a link to some chemistry projects using pennies and common household objects that demonstrate the oxidation process.
Emma Lazarus was the poet who wrote the poem on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. The people of France raised money for the statue, but the people of the United States were to build the pedestal and fund its construction. Emma Lazarus wrote the poem and sold it at auction to help raise money for the construction of the pedestal. While “The New Colossus” eclipsed all of Lazarus’ other poems, she had a significant volume of works published before it was written. Read and discuss other poems written by Emma Lazarus.