Library of Congress


LILI Unit: Library of Congress

Essential Question:
What is symbolism?
Pre-trip lesson:  Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, leads students through a series of activities focused on interpreting symbols. Students investigate symbols related to knowledge and understanding through collaborative image-analysis. Then, they listen to a story about Thomas Jefferson and the founding of the Library of Congress, after which they connect symbols to come find her – and her friends – at the LOC.


Level of Difficulty:


Trip:  At the LOC, students work in small groups to complete four challenges at rotating stations.  They identify and analyze symbols on sculptures that represent different occupations.  After observing the Minerva mosaic and discussing its symbolism, each student gets to create his/her own mosaic using magnetic tiles. Students also visit Thomas Jefferson’s original collection, and then see the main reading room at the LOC.
Academic Standards:

  • English Language Arts (CC.3.RI.3.2; CC.3.RI.3.4)
  • Social Studies (3.1.3)
  • Visual Arts (3.3.6)
Post-trip lesson:  As a culminating activity, students redesign the Minerva mosaic, envisioning things that they feel are important to protect and adding symbols for those things.   . Students also test their knowledge of symbolism, and the LOC as they compete in a collaborative review game and take written assessments.