This lesson can be taught in approximately 35 class periods.
For a less in-depth approach to this unit, any of the three individual
components can be used independently.
The focus for older students in Women's Suffrage is on the
decisions and solutions involved in winning the right to vote.
Students will read background information on the fight for women's
suffrage and its eventual success in the United States and around
the world and will write a persuasive essay on why women should
or should not be allowed to vote.
As a class, discuss women's suffrage in the United States. Have
women always had the right to vote in the United States? What
were attitudes toward women in the past focus on periods of
history that students may have recently studied like the American
Revolution or Civil War. 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 beforehand and have students return the printout
Continue the lesson by directing students to read Effie Hobby's
story on voting in 1920. Alert students to the "Think About
It" question on the bottom of each page in Effie Hobby's
story. These thought-provoking questions allow students a chance
to write responses in their notebooks.
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. 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 out printouts of the Voting
Dates Fact Sheet and direct students to the "When Did
Women Vote?" section of the activity. Depending on the availability
of computers, you may assign individual students to each computer
or group students according to reading level. If time is a concern,
you can ask 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, 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?
Explain to students that they are taking a virtual trip in time,
back to 1920. The states are about to vote on whether to pass
the 19th Amendment. Each student is going to write a persuasive
essay to convince an audience either to vote for the 19th Amendment
or to vote against it. As a class, make a list of arguments they
can make in support of and against the amendment.
Direct students to the Writing
Workshop Persuasive Writing project, where students will be
directed through the step-by-step process of writing a persuasive
essay. Students should hand in a copy of their persuasive essay
for assessment as well as publish their essay online.
Why did women ask for the right to
What were the arguments for and against
allowing women to vote?
Which countries were the first to allow
women to vote? Why do you think these countries were ahead of
Which countries do not allow women
to vote today? Does this reflect women's rights or do men have
the right to vote in these countries?
What arguments were made for not giving
women the right to vote before World War I? How was this evidence
supported? How did these attitudes change after the war?
What tactics did suffragettes use to
persuade government officials to change the suffrage laws? Were
these tactics always effective?
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