Women's Suffrage for Grades 3-5
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
The focus for grades 3-5 in Women's Suffrage is on change of attitudes through the passage of time. Students will read a background on the fight for women's suffrage and its eventual success in the United States and around the world.
- Discover the history behind women's suffrage
- Develop vocabulary related civics and citizenship
- Explore world and U.S. maps
- Draw conclusions about patterns in women suffrage dates
- Make personal connections to suffrage history
Set Up and Prepare
- Depending on the grade level and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction.
- If a computer is available for each student, guide students to the activities.
- If you are working in a lab, set up the computers to be on the desired website as students walk into class. If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a "driver" who navigates the web, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc. If your classroom is set up in collaborative groups, try learning stations. Have rotating groups working on the computer (s), reading printed background information, holding smaller group discussions, writing first drafts to a given writing prompt, etc.
As a class, discuss women's suffrage in the United States. Why is it important to vote? Who has the right to vote today? Who does not have that right? Why would women ever not have the right to vote? Write on the board any ideas and facts students bring to the discussion.
Before the class, print copies of the articles available in History of Women's Suffrage to hand to students. Students should individually read each article, circling the vocabulary words they find within the articles.
Once students have read and understood the articles, send them to the computer stations to take the interactive, Show What You Know quiz. Students should print their final page and turn it in for assessment. If computers are not available, you can print the quiz and have students return the printout for assessment.
Continue the lesson by directing students to read Effie Hobby's story on voting in 1920. In their notebooks, encourage students to write short responses to each Think About It question on the bottom of each section.
When students have completed the Show What You Know quiz and Effie's story, regroup as a class to discuss what they have read. See Discussion Starters below. Add to the board any new ideas and facts.
Focus students on why some people wanted women to vote while others were against the idea and what world events might have allowed people to change their opinions. Expand the discussion to women's rights around the world. Do women have the right to vote in every country?
Hand printouts of the Voting Dates Fact Sheet (PDF) and direct students to the When Did Women Vote? section of the activity. Depending on the availability of computers, you may have individual students on each computer or group students according to reading level. If time a concern, you can break half the class to explore the U.S. map while the other half explores the world map.
With their filled out Voting Dates Fact Sheet (PDF), have students discuss any patterns they see in the years that different countries and different states adopted women's suffrage. What can we learn about these patterns and the changing attitude toward women's rights over time?
- Why did women ask for the right to vote? What were the arguments for and against allowing women to vote?
- When did women start the fight for suffrage?
- What events happened in the United States and in the world to change public opinion on whether women should be able to vote? Why?
- What kinds of tactics did suffragettes use to win their fight? Are these tactics all legal? Is it okay to break the law in order to protest?
- Why do women still not have the right to vote in some countries? Do men have the right to vote in these same countries?
Supporting All Learners
International Reading Association (IRA) & National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Standards:
Women's Suffrage helps students meet the following standards Sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA).
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language for learning, persuasion, and exchange of information.
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (libraries, databases, computer networks) to gather and communicate knowledge.
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
- Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- Students conduct research by gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources, and then communicate their discoveries to different audiences for a variety of purposes.
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS):
Women's Suffrage meets the standards of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), which promote the development of students as good citizens in a culturally diverse, interdependent world. The content and activities of this project are especially appropriate for the themes of:
- Time, Continuity, and Change: Students focus on how the world has changed in order to gain perspective on the present and the future.
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions: Students study interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.
- Power, Authority, and Governance: Students study how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.
- Civic Ideals and Practices: Students gain an understanding of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
- use technology tools to process data and report results employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world
Using the background information provided in the History of Women's Suffrage, have each student decide on a famous suffragette to research further. Doing some Internet research (See Planning the Lesson: Background Knowledge for some useful websites), students should write a paragraph on their chosen suffragette. Once you read and approve these paragraphs, have students submit their nominations to the Women's Honor Roll.
Honor Roll of Notable Women: Nominate a Suffragette
Have students go through the steps in Honor Roll of Notable Women. Have students specifically work on a suffragette by doing research and writing a paragraph about her. Make sure students have edited their articles and printed a copy for formal assessment before publishing online. See Honor Roll Writing Rubric.