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Suffrage Still Happening

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade 9th Grade Class American Government Length of Lesson 50 Minutes
Lesson Title Suffrage Still Happening
Unit Title Voting Rights
Unit Compelling Question Why are voting rights important?
Historical Context:

The Women’s Suffrage Movement was a national movement across the country which started in the late 19th Century with the efforts to get the right to vote and other civil rights that had been withheld from women. In Iowa, the suffrage movement was faced with a lot of resistance and various suffrage proposals were presented to the state legislature but none were able to pass and change the state constitution. One of the biggest proponents for not allowing women to vote was the liquor and alcohol industry in the state because the suffrage movement also promoted the prohibition movement. The movement gained some footing when the 1894 Iowa legislature granted partial suffrage and allowed women to vote on bond issues but not become candidates or vote in formal elections. Across the country, women were fighting for the vote until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920 that stated that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of sex.

~ Katherine Keeling
Lesson Supporting Question In what ways were women advocating for their right to vote?
Lesson Overview

Students will be analyzing and critiquing the forms of propaganda and campaigning that the women and others would be using during this time to spread the message of voting rights. Students will be going through the primary resources and dissecting the meaning and interpreting what the sources were trying to communicate during the time.

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed


File copy_of_iowa_lesson_-_document_questions.docx
Lesson Target
  • Students will be able to read and interpret the meanings of the phrases in the song and on the poster.
  • Students will be able to understand the meaning of lens and perspective when looking at primary resources.
  • Students will speculate the impact of these types of issue advocacy and explain how they would have been important for this campaign for equal rights.
Lesson Themes Civil Rights, Political System, Women's Experience
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
1 Students will begin the class by discussion what suffrage is and how and why it became such an important event and topic during America’s history. 5-10 Minutes  
2 Students will then be given a packet of resources including the “Give Us The Ballot” sheet music and the “Women Fought For the Vote, Let’s Make the Vote Count” political cartoon. Along with the documents, the students will also receive a questions sheet corresponding to the documents. Students will work individually or in small groups to read and complete the questions 30 Minutes  
3 Following the completion of the assignment, the instructor will be reading some of the questions off to assess the interpretations that the students had. This will build a discussion about the material and what the documents were trying to communicate. Students will also be handing in the question documents at the end of the class period for credit. 10 Minutes  
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • Document Worksheet: This will be a form of formative assessment that the students will be turning in at the end of the period to show that demonstrated the ability to work with primary resources and were able to interpret the sources to answer questions.
  • Teacher Observations and Discussion: Based on discussion before and after the in class assignment will demonstrate to the instructor the takeaways and impressions the documents and questions had on the students. This will not be graded but give a better sense of how the students absorbed and understood the materials.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
Author Information
Author Katherine Keeling Reviewer Chad Christopher, History Education, University of Northern Iowa Created 02/18/2020 Last Edited 02/18/2020
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Fall 2019

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