Teaching American History Project Lesson
Author: Norma Johnson
Unit Title: Progressive Era
Lesson Title: Suffragists
Subject: US History
Level: 8th Grade
Length of Lesson: Two 75-minute block class periods
The women’s rights movement is said to have officially started during the 1840s with the
convention at Seneca Falls, New York. No one will argue that this was an important step
toward the cause of suffrage, but the desire to gain the vote and equal rights to men had
been going on as far back as the American Revolution.
With the passing of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the constitution, women argued
that it gave them the right to equality with men and as part of this equality they should be
afforded the right to vote. In 1875 they took their case all the way to the Supreme Court
but to no avail. Their next move was to take their case to the states and to Congress since
the constitution and courts had not listened to their argument.
The first constitutional amendment for suffrage was proposed in the congressional
session of 1878 and every year thereafter for the next 41 years. This had some support,
but not enough to sway the congress.
As the turn of the century loomed on the horizon the Territory of Wyoming was admitted
to the Union as a state complete with women’s suffrage already in place. Within ten years
Utah, Colorado and Idaho had all given women the right to vote. The states seemed to be
the best place to take their fight, but it was slow and suffragettes wanted all women in all
states to have that right. The wide spreading progressive movements seemed to be the
right backdrop for an amendment that would give them their long awaited goal.
Who were these suffragettes that had given so much of their lives to a cause that would
benefit all women?
1. Students will be able to interpret a political cartoon.
2. Students will be able to recognize hidden meanings in political cartoons.
3. Students will be able to create a character collage using research skill and
Standards: Nevada History Content Standards
History Standard 7.0: 1860 to 1920: Students understand the importance and impact of
political, economic, and social ideas.
Benchmark 7.8.13 Describe the women’s suffrage movement and the 19th Amendment
In Class Student Activities:
Focus: Students will begin class with a woman’s suffrage word search to focus the
students on the names of suffrage workers.
Word search - can be made by going to this web site and inserting the title: Who Are
They?, and adding these names: Abigail Foster, Bellela Follette, Margaret Fuller, Susan
Anthony, Alice Blackwell, Carrie Catt, Alympia Brown, Amelia Bloomer, Isabelle
Hooker, Sarah Grimke. You could also add more or use other names. I like to have a race
to move them through as fast as possible.
When they have finished have them put a star by the name of those they recognize. Let
them volunteer the names they recognize and who they think it is. As them what all of the
people on the word search have in common. Make sure they finally focus on the fact that
all of these people were supporters of the suffrage movement.
Character Collage Research: Explain to the students that they are going to do a quick
mini-research project to learn more about those who were involved in the cause of
women’s rights. Handout the project information (worksheet #2) and tell them they will
be going to the media center or computer lab to do their quick research. Have them draw
their name from a hat or assign them a name from list (attached to lesson). Take them to
the research area and let them get to work.
For a large class you may need to assign 2 students the same name. Go to the 75
Suffragists Make your list of names from this site.
As the end of class draws near assess whether they will need to finish their project at
home. Some will finish while some may need more time. For those who need more time
let them have one article copied or print off one article to take with them. Their collage is
due next class as well as a short presentation that must fit on a 3X5 card.
Focus: Begin class with a political cartoon Election Day!
Use either a written cartoon analysis tool or write some questions to help them interpret
the cartoon. Analysis
Class Activity: If you had 2 students using the same person give them a few minutes to
get together so they can compare information and not repeat the same information. Have
the students stand up and show their character collage and give their short presentation.
The students should fill out a short worksheet (attached) as each suffragette is introduced.
Discuss with the class what motivated these people to become so involved in what they
believed in. Ask questions about what students feel strongly about and would be willing
to protest to change. Ask if they can remember times in history when other protests took
place in the United States. Ask if they or their parents ever were involved in a protest,
Finish class with a video clip: Video Clip Use the MPEG to view video and download
prior to use in class.
Extended Enrichment Activities:
1. Write a letter to a friend or family member about how you would support the
2. Research information on the 19th Amendment and prepare a map of states with
dates of ratification of the amendment.
3. Have students research or find newspaper articles relating to the movement to
pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
1. Word Search Activity for each student
2. Character Collage worksheet for each student – Attached
3. Political Cartoon Analysis for each student or pair of students –click on
4. Analysis above in lesson.
5. Video clip downloaded
1. Students will be observed as they are doing research for those skills.
2. Their final presentation and collage will be graded for complete information for
the time given and neatness.
3. Their presentation worksheet will be scanned for information collected during
Election Day! A political poster for woman’s suffrage http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-
Political Cartoon analysis tool:
Video Clip: TR speaking at Sagamore Hill [1916-1918]
Word search puzzle:
Short biographies of 75 Suffragists
Woman’s Suffrage Character Collage
Name _______________________ Research name ___________________
Objective: You will be researching and learning more about one of the many people who
worked for women’s rights during the 1800s and early1900s. You are to research for
information and pick out the most important pieces for you collage.
Read the information you find. Remember last name first!!
Find the following information or as much of it as you can.
1. Birth and death dates.
2. How they were involved in the movement?
3. Where they lived?
4. Interesting information you found.
5. Places they would have gone.
6. People they would have worked with on the movement.
7. Words they would have said (quotes) if any are available.
Write your information around the picture.
Include the senses (saw, heard, felt).
You must draw at least 4 objects that represents this person.
You must use some color.