Grades 6–8

This lesson can be taught in approximately 3–5 class periods. For a less in-depth approach to this unit, any of the three individual components can be used independently.

Lesson Introduction:
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.

Day 1
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 for assessment.

Day 2
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.

Days 3—4
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?

Day 5
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.

Discussion starters:

• Why did women ask for the right to vote?
• 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 others?
• 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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