Teaching women’s suffrage is a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Let kids research famous suffragettes to learn more.
Ms. Sneed Explores the Women’s Suffrage Movement
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, sat hunched over her laptop. “Time to bone up on the 19th Amendment,” she said to herself.
As she read, the teacher’s eyebrows raised. “Wow, who knew?” she murmured. Article after article on History.com challenged her preconceived ideas about women’s suffrage.
- The federal government doesn’t decide who gets to vote. Instead, each state determines suffrage.
- At the Seneca Falls Convention, eleven resolutions about women’s rights were made. Ten of the eleven passed unanimously. The ninth resolution, on women’s right to vote, only passed narrowly. Many activists remained unconvinced that women should vote – even in 1848.
- After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment gave all citizens born in the United States or naturalized the right to vote. Black men were now included; women were not. This caused a bigger push for women’s suffrage – but not for the reason Ms. Sneed expected. Some supported it so that women’s votes would counterbalance the votes of Black men.
- In the end, marches and rallies did not gain women the right to vote. Instead, during World War II, more than nine million women signed up to help with the war effort. At home, women filled the jobs of male soldiers fighting overseas. This caused a societal shift, and countries around the world granted suffrage to women.
- Fifteen states gave women the right to vote before 1920. Wyoming became the first in 1890, followed by Kansas, Alaska, Illinois, North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan, Arkansas, New York, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.
As she worked, Ms. Sneed typed up a short article for teaching women’s suffrage. “If we want kids to be informed,” she said out loud, “we must first inform teachers.”
A Research Project for Kids
Teaching Women’s Suffrage
During the first week of school, Ms. Sneed introduced women’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment. Her students watched videos, read articles, and held meaningful discussions.
The following Monday morning, Ms. Sneed introduced the research project. “Each of you will research a different suffragette. When you sign in on Google Classroom, you’ll find all the pages for your project.”
The students quickly opened their Chromebooks and clicked to find out which suffragette they’d be researching. Cries of “I got Susan B. Anthony!” and “Wow! Ida B. Wells” could be heard.
Before too long, the room was silent. Ms. Sneed circulated around the room. Then that famous teacher smile curled the edges of her mouth. She loved it when a plan came together.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.