By: Courtney Robinson


Grades 4-6


Students will demonstrate their understanding of ways to increase voting participation by developing a campaign for the need to vote, using a medium of their choice.


ballots &endash;pencils&endash;material to create campaign (paper, markers, pencils, poster board, computer, flyers, cloth for flags etc.)


1. Anticipatory Set: Gender rights simulation.

a. This will occur by taking a class issue (recess length, class rules, school rules, etc.) that is important to the children. Telling the students that they are going to vote for the outcome, what they want to occur.

b. Pick two boys to pass out the ballots. Identify the choices that will be present on the ballot. Tell the boys not to give any ballots to the girls in the class. When the girls complain, just tell them that, that is the way it is, and the boys are the decision makers.

c. Collect the ballots and tally the votes. While doing this have the students reflect in their journal how they felt. (Both the boys and girls). Briefly discuss.

2. Establish context: Pose some questions to the class, to stimulate discussion of their feelings. Introduce the idea of human rights, voting.

a. How many of you girls are willing to go along with the boys choices?

b. Are the boys smarter than you?

c. Is it fair?

d. Describe your feelings about it

3. State purpose or objectives:

a. Understand the importance of voting in our country and ways that we can increase participation through our campaigns.

4. Guided learning: mini-lesson

a. Introduce the 19th amendment; show relation to simulation from the first of class.
i. Read background attached (read through, in order to provide discussion ideas, let the students lead the discussion based on interest). Highlighted parts are good lead questions for the students.

ii. Read actual amendment (section one and two)

b. Discuss why people don't vote when they can.

i. Time; people are too busy with work, family, etc. to vote

ii. Location; there is not a close voting booth, or they are registered elsewhere

iii. Beliefs; it won't make a difference in the outcome

c. Introduce the campaign assignment.

i. Generate ideas of way to get people excited for voting

ii. Establish different types of medium that can be used for reaching all types of people (posters, flyers, flags, computer generated media, etc.).

iii. Have the students create a class rubric that can be used as a guideline for assignment. Criteria might include:

--Must have positive reason for voting

--Able to display for others to see and understand

--Is presentable and readable

--Students will compile a list of standards and expectations for campaign based on class.

5. Feedback:

a. As students are creating campaigns, allow for questions, provide resources for ideas, and allow interaction between students.


Assess their knowledge (based on rubric created) of a way to increase voting turnout by evaluation their campaign.


U.S. Constitution: Nineteenth Amendment

Nineteenth Amendment - Women's Suffrage Rights

Amendment Text | Annotations

Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Women's Suffrage

The Amendment was adopted after a long campaign by its advocates who had largely despaired of attaining their goal through modification of individual state laws. Agitation in behalf of women's suffrage was recorded as early as the Jackson Administration but the initial results were meager. Beginning in 1838, Kentucky authorized women to vote in school elections and its action was later copied by a number of other States. Kansas in 1887 granted women unlimited rights to vote in municipal elections. Not until 1869, however, when the Wyoming Territory accorded women suffrage rights on an equal basis with men and continued the practice following admission to statehood, did these advocates register a notable victory. Progress continued to be discouraging, only ten additional States having joined Wyoming by 1914, and, judicial efforts having failed,1 and a vigorous campaign brought congressional passage of a proposed Amendment and the necessary state ratifications.2

Following the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fifteenth Amendment, the state courts which passed on the effect of the Amendment ruled that it did not confer upon women the right to vote but only the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their sex in the setting of voting qualifications,3 a formalistic distinction to be sure but one which has restrained the possible applications of the Amendment. In only one case has the Supreme Court itself dealt with the Amendment's effect, holding that a Georgia poll tax statute which exempted from payment women who did not register to vote did not discriminate in any manner against the right of men to vote, although it did note that the Amendment ''applies to men and women alike and by its own force supersedes inconsistent measures, whether federal or State.''4


[Footnote 1] Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162 (1875), a challenge under the privileges of immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

[Footnote 2] E. Flexner, Century of Struggle--The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States (1959).

[Footnote 3] State v. Mittle, 120 S.C. 526 (1922), writ of error dismissed, 260 U.S. 705 (1922); Graves v. Eubank, 205 Ala. 174 (1921); In re Cavelier, 287 N.Y.S. 739 (1936).

[Footnote 4] Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 283-84 (1937).

The Constitution: The 19th Amendment

August 1995 marked the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and August 18, 1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but strategies for achieving their goal varied. Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state--nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused them.

By 1916, however, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and when President Woodrow Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift in favor of the vote for women. On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, and the face of the American electorate changed forever.

During World War I, militant suffragists, demanding that President Wilson reverse his opposition to a federal amendment, stood vigil at the White House and carried banners such as this one comparing the President to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. In the heated patriotic climate of wartime, such tactics met with hostility and sometimes violence and arrest.