Lessons for Women’s History Month

Here is a collection of lessons and resources on key individual women’s contributions to U.S. and world history, as well as movements that have aimed at equality for women. Key figures in world history include: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra and Joan of Arc.  Notable women in U.S. history include activist and journalist Ida B. Wells, environmentalist Rachel Carson  and Harriet Tubman. Other lessons focus on how women won the right to vote, whether women have achieved equality, women serving in Congress, and women in the military.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Equality: A Lesson Plan for “Harrison Bergeron”

What kind of equality should we care about? Examine the difference between equality of outcome and equality of opportunity as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Kurt Vonnegut’s story with James W. Ceaser (University of Virginia). Includes discussion guide and model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Martin’s Big Words

In this lesson, students will experience unequal treatment first hand – some will receive a sticker based on an arbitrary characteristic, like hair color – and by discussing their reactions, they will come to understand the meaning of equality. Students will learn about the life and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and write about what his dream for equality means in their own lives.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Grades 6-8 Freedom and Equality: American Principles at Odds?

This lesson will use close reading of documentary selections and class discussion to analyze the concepts of “freedom” and “equality” as they have appeared and been tested throughout American history. By the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to view these ideas as contested concepts that can and often do exist in tension. Students will assess whether or not “equality” comes at the expense of “freedom” and vice versa.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Who Were the Foremothers of the Women’s Suffrage and Equality Movements?

This lesson looks at the women’s suffrage movement that grew out of the failing of the Continental Congress by “remembering the ladies” who are too often overlooked when teaching about the “foremothers” of the movements for suffrage and women’s equality in U.S. history. Grounded in the critical inquiry question “Who’s missing?” and in the interest of bringing more perspectives to whom the suffrage movement included, this resource will help to ensure that students learn about some of the lesser-known activists who, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony, participated in the formative years of the women’s rights movement.

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Different Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement

Anthony Badger uses the career of President Jimmy Carter to frame the questions of change in the American South and the relative impact that economic modernization, nonviolent protest, and armed self-defense had on the end of segregation and the steps taken toward political and social equality.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment

The American Bar Association Dialogue program provides lawyers, judges and teachers with the resources they need to engage students and community members in a discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions. This Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment is composed of three parts:
Part 1: Equal Protection and Civil Rights – Participants discuss the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and consider how Congress, through federal legislation, has worked to help realize its constitutional promise.
Part 2: Incorporating the Bill of Rights examines the concept of incorporation. Using a case study of Gitlow v. New York, this section provides a guide to how courts have applied the Bill of Rights, selectively, to the states using the 14th Amendment.
Part 3: Ensuring Equality and Liberty explores how the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by courts to protect fundamental freedoms, including individuals’ right to marry.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Timelines
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

A Famous Kansas Child

In this lesson, students will read about a Kansas child involved in a famous United States Supreme Court case. They will think critically to form opinions about equality, segregation, and integration, and will distinguish between fact and opinion.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Realizing the Dream Today

Students will analyze a political cartoon depicting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the title of his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” Discussion of the meaning of the cartoon leads into a more general conversation about rights and equality.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

“I Have a Dream” Speech, Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his address on his vision for the future of America regarding race equality. The speech was to emphasize the importance of this movement. 100 years before, Lincoln gave his Emancipation speech and 200 years earlier the Declaration of Independence was signed. Now it is time to end oppression in America for good.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12