Subtopic: Women's History Week
Grade Level: 4th-5th
Author: Johanna C. Markworth
Background: Women's History Week is designed to inform the public of the great impact that women
have made in this U.S. society. Women's History Week is a nation wide celebration of women and their
contributions to human kind. Women of every race, ethnic background and class are recognized for their
In March of 1987 a Congressional Resolution was created. It designates the month of March to be
Women's History Month. It states that American women have played a very unique and critical role in
American history and deserve to be recognized for it. The President also requests that the people of the
United States observe this month with activities and ceremonies. Most places in the United States have
specifically designated the first week of March to contribute to the celebration of the accomplishments of
Each year a new group of women are chosen. The theme of women could be focused on African
Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latinas, Women in Math and Science, Women at work,
some Firsts for Women, the Common Woman, Women in Social Reform, Women in Sports, Women's
rights, Women in Performing Arts, and Women in Government. The topics that can be focused on are
A theme for Women's History Week is chosen and then activities are branched off to fit the theme
. For this unit Women's rights will be the theme.
Some women who have made an impact on women's rights are Susan B. Anthony, Harriet
Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These extrodinary women have truly made a
difference in the world that we live in.
Susan B. Anthony was a great political crusader of the 19th century. She worked hard to bring
equal rights to the blacks, white, male and female. Susan spent fifty years of her life pursuing her goal of
obtaining womens suffrage. She organized hundreds of meetings, traveled tens of thousands of miles,
spoke before countless Americans demanding equal rights for her sex.
Harriet Tubman was a major conductor of the Underground Railroad to help runaway slaves gain
freedom. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Harriet went to South Carolina to help the Union Army. She
was a kind nurse who helped care for thousands of newly freed slaves. After the war she continued to
serve those in need. In her last years she helped build a home for old and impoverished blacks. Harriet
Tubman is known as "the Moses of her people." She was motivated by her sense of justice.
Sojourner Truth was a very powerful speaker in advocating women's rights. Sojourner met with
both Abraham Lincoln and then with President Ulysses S. Grant speaking out for women's rights,
especially the right to vote. Sojourner stated that she spoke the truth about injustice.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was also a women's rights advocate. On July 19, 1848 the first Women's
Rights Convention was held in New York. Elizabeth had written a Declaration of Rights and read it at the
convention. The beginning states, "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men and women are
created equal..." Elizabeth fought and fought to help give women the right to vote. It was later passed,
and women were given the right to vote. Elizabeth later met Susan B. Anthony and they became instant
friends. They traveled all over devoting their time to women's rights.
Banner,Lois W. (1980). Elizabeth Cady Stanton A Radical for Woman's Rights. Boston: Little, Brown & Company Limited. *
Carter, Polly (1990). Harriet Tubman and Black History Month. New Jersey: Silver Press.*
Clardy, Andrea F (1986). Women's History Curriculum Guide. Santa Rosa, CA: National Women's History Project.
Eisenberg, Bonnie and Ruthsdotter, Mary (1986). 101 Wonderful Ways To Celebrate Women's History. Santa Rosa, CA: National Women History Project.
Gleiter, Jan and Thompson, Kathleen (1988). Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Milwaukee: Raintree.*
Taylor, M. W. (1991). Harriet Tubman Antislavery Activist. Philadelphia, NY: Chelsea House Publishers.*
Taylor-Boyd, Susan (1990). Sojourner Truth The courageous former slave whose eloquence helped promote human equality. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens.*
Weisberg, Barbara (1988). Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffragist. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.*
*Suggested resources for Jigsaw
*Students will recognize that women have impacted this nation.
*Students will recognize that Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton have played a great part in obtaining women's rights, through participation in a jigsaw activity.
*Students will write and recognize their own life is part of history.
*Students will conduct a interview with one woman that they admire.
Time Allotment: Approximately one week plus an outside class interview.
Resources Needed: Large white paper for time line, books and information on the four women(Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth C. Stanton and Harriet Tubman), butcher paper, paint and paper for the mural, poster board and markers for the advertisement.
A.Mini-lecture. Explain to the class what Women's History Week is and how it affects the students lives. Explain to the class that each year a new group of women, that have made an impact on this nation, are honored. This year the theme of Women's History Week is focused on the women who worked for Women Rights. Talk about the roles of women and how they have changed over time.
B.Personal History Timeline. Explain to the students that each of their lives are a part of History. Have the students construct their own life by making a timeline of their own personal history. Their timeline must include at least five events in their lives. Give each student a large sheet of white paper. Have them write the specific events and corresponding dates on a time line, starting with birth. Specific events that students may want to consider putting on their time line are, birth dates, school events, relatives and family information and other important events to the child. Model this for the students before they are asked to do it. This will ensure that each student knows exactly what is expected. Place the timelines around the room so that the students can read each others history.
C.Jigsaw. To get the students familiar with the theme of the current year, jigsaw the different women honored. Make four groups of students to make up the expert group. Each student in the class will research a woman and learn of the significance and impact of her life dealing with women's rights. The women that will be researched are: Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harriet Tubman. Put the four groups in different areas of the classroom. Give each group information on these women. Refer to the references for a list of books. More books may be added. Give the students approximately twenty to thirty minutes to research. Make six groups of students, one student from each expert group will make one group. Give the students time to share their information with the other members in their group.
D.Hands-on. Have the students get involved with spreading the word about Women's History Week. Have the students get into pairs. Each pair will make a poster advertising Women's History Week that will be taken around to different stores, schools, businesses in town. Encourage students to put the date of Women's History Week and also the theme of the current year.The teacher will distribute the posters around town.
E.Art. Divide the class up into four groups. Give each group one of the names that they have been learning about (Susan, Sojourner, Elizabeth, and Harriet). Each group, working cooperatively together will create a mural of the lives of these women. Paint, construction paper, markers and just about anything can be used to create their mural. Hang the murals in the hall if possible.
F.Interview. Ask the students to interview one woman that they admire and respect. It can be a teacher, mother, grandmother, neighbor or any woman that the child chooses. Have the students compile questions to ask before they conduct the interview. Questions to ask could be about their career choice, family, hobbies, women that they admire most and why. Have the students get into groups of five and share their interview results on the last day.
G.Open Discussion. Have a open discussion about what the students have learned throughout the process of learning about Women's History Week. Encourage students to share ideas, thoughts and feelings about it. Some possible questions might include: *What is something you learned about Susan B. Anthony that has effected your life? *What is something that you learned from the woman that you conducted your interview. *How do you feel about women's rights? These are just a few possible suggestions, more can be added to the discussion.
H.Writing. Have each student write in their personal journal about the things that they have learned about the contributions of women.
Personal History Timeline will be assessed by checking to make sure that each timeline has at least five events listed.
Participation in jigsaw groups will be assessed.
The murals that the students design will be assessed.
Interview will be assessed by whether or not they complete it.
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