Women's History Month


During Women's History Month, the School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program challenges your students to think critically about the subject matter and sources that underpin the study of women's history. Throughout our nation’s past, women have dared to question, to evaluate, and to ask, “Why not do better?” These lessons and activities invite your students to do the same.

In the Shadows, Agents of Change - This lesson allows students to become familiar with some of the brave women who helped drive and sustain the civil rights movement. Their work and courageous efforts have gone unsung for many years. Students will explore the role played by gender during an era of expanding political rights and personal liberties. Image of Ella Baker provided by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

The Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and Today - Whether or not there is need for a Constitutional amendment to declare the sexes equal has been a point of contention in the United States since shortly after women's suffrage. There have been, and continue to be, strong, intelligent, and well-intentioned women and men on both sides of the Equal Rights Amendment debate. This lesson asks students to examine the arguments for and against the ERA. They will use intellectual tools from the Justice section of Foundations of Democracy to examine how each side, in the 1970s, perceived American women's need, capacity, and desert of this Constitutional amendment. Then they will decide whether or not the amendment is necessary and relevant today.

Activity 1 - Students will create "word clouds" using excerpts of letters and speeches by famous women. Students may use the Internet and visit the free website https://www.abcya.com/games/word_clouds to evaluate text in a unique way. Afterwards, students discuss their findings. In word clouds, those words that appear most frequently are given greater prominence, allowing the reader or student to draw conclusions on dominance of themes in a document, or the tone the author intends in the writing. The prominence of specific words can help students predict or reflect on the primary focus of any given document.

Activity 2 - This activity is a fun addition to a standard research report about men and women who played a role in the woman suffrage movement. Once students have learned a fair amount about their assigned people, they hold a presentation day in which they each dress up like their person and stand still, as if they are wax figures in a museum. When a visitor pushes a paper button, the figures "come to life" and present short, informative presentations in the persona of the person they researched. A student-illustrated presentation board is created ahead of time and used in the presentation. Parents, other students, and other special guests are all invited to visit to the students' "Women's History Comes to Life Wax Museum."

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