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The Women's Suffrage Movement

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade Class US Government Length of Lesson 45 Minutes
Lesson Title The Women's Suffrage Movement
Unit Title Voting Rights and the Power of the Vote
Unit Compelling Question What is a vote worth?
Historical Context:

"Give Us the Ballot" by Lilla C. Bliven is song dedicated to the Political Equality Club of Emmetsburg, IA. The Political Equality Club was a women's activist group based around the ideals of women's suffrage. This piece was published by J.S. Atkinson.

Women's Suffrage was a massive movement in Iowa's history. It took place during a period of great reform, not just in Iowa, but all across the nation as well. The first Political Equality Club in Iowa was formed in Des Moines. Here, women met to discuss politics, national news, and women's suffrage. Women's suffrage and the Temperance (Prohibition) Movement went together due to many women involved in the suffrage movement also supporting Prohibition. This made many "wets" oppose women's suffrage. Though men and women fought hard for women's suffrage, their efforts fell short until 1919 when Congress finally allowed women the right to vote.

Erica Knudson, Teaching Iowa History team

This poster was published by the Woman's Division of Christian Service Board of Missions of the Methodist Church. The poster displays the message "Women Fought for the Vote, Let's Make the Vote Count," as well as cartoons from 1909-1915 on the subject of women's suffrage.

~ Matthew Miller, Teaching Iowa History Team
Lesson Supporting Question In what ways did women fight for their right to vote? What did women in Iowa do to help the Women’s Suffrage Movement?
Lesson Overview

This lesson will focus on the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.  It will include the impact that Iowan women were able to make during this time.  The students will analyze the lyrics of the song “Give Us the Ballot” and its impact on the women’s suffrage movement in Iowa.  Then, the students will be shown a poster from the World War II era that used political cartoons from the women’s suffrage movement.  They will look at the political poster and analyze the different political cartoons on the poster and will be asked to fill out a worksheet that asks the students to interpret the cartoon.

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed
File political_cartoons_questions.docx
Lesson Target
  • Students will analyze the lyrics of a song and work with a partner to interpret the song's meaning, as well as discuss how it might have impacted the women's suffrage movement.
Lesson Themes Civil Rights, Lawmaking, Women's Experience
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
Overview and Introduction Start the day by describing what the class will be doing that day so the students have an idea of what the class period will be about. Then, summarize past classes and outline who had the right to vote going into the 1900's. 5 minutes  
Analysis of "Give Us the Ballot" Students will participate in a Think, Pair, Share activity which they will begin by reading the lyrics of "Give Us the Ballot" and interpreting them by themselves and eventually discussing their ideas with a partner. Finally, each pair will share their ideas with the class, using examples from the lyrics to support their claim. 10 minutes  
Breaking Down Political Cartoons Students will be given a poster with six different political cartoons on it.  Along with a print out of the poster, the students will also receive a worksheet with questions focused on interpreting the political cartoons of the poster.  After the students have completed the worksheet on their own, they will discuss what they thought the cartoons meant with a partner. Finally, we will go over the worksheet as a class to ensure the students have a proper understanding of the cartoon. 20 minutes  
Reflection and Review There is a reflection on the back of the political cartoons worksheet that will contain the supporting questions for the lesson. These questions will act as a form of review for the lesson and self reflection.     
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • The worksheet will be a form of assessment. It will help show how well the students are able to analyze political cartoons and other primary sources. The reflection will also show whether or not the students are understanding the main points of the lesson.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • This lesson will connect to the summative assessment by focusing on the women's suffrage movement and their fight for the right to vote. This lesson discusses opposition and different ways that women participated in the movement.
Author Information
Author Ben Chapman Reviewer Chad Christopher, History Education, University of Northern Iowa Created 01/15/2020 Last Edited 02/19/2020
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Fall 2019

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