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More than 90 minutes
  • Current Events
  • Journalism
  • Politics
  • Women's Rights
  • 7-12

  (Note: For more support, see expanded procedure in downloadable lesson plan.)

  1. In advance, review the sample worksheet at the end of the instruction download. You may wish to distribute it to your students, as well.
  2. Define “perspective” as a class.
  3. Distribute the Perspectives on Women’s Suffrage worksheet.
  4. Students select an event they believe impacted perception of the women’s suffrage movement and complete Part I of the worksheet.
  5. In class or for homework, students then conduct research to back their claim. They document their findings in Part II of the worksheet.
  6. Remind students that if they find information that weakens their claim, they should not ignore it, but instead adjust their position.

  • Perspectives on Women’s Suffrage worksheet (download), one per student
  • Internet access 

Students present their claims and, as a class, make a master list of events. Lead an analysis of their findings. Possible prompts:

  • Which events had pro-suffrage impacts? Which events had anti-suffrage impacts? What are the similarities and differences between the events that encouraged a pro-suffrage perspective and those that encouraged an anti- suffrage perspective?
  • What events had the greatest impact on perspectives, shifting people toward or away from support for woman suffrage? What common characteristics do these large-impact events share?
  • What types of evidence did you find to show a change in perspective? Was it quantitative? Qualitative? A mix of both? Which evidence do you think is the most compelling and why?
  • How do individuals today view the issue of women’s rights? How have perspectives evolved since the time of the women’s suffrage movement? How have they stayed the same?
  • Why is it important to understand the impact of historical events on shaping public opinion?

Discuss the idea that perspectives are constantly evolving, and a change in a perspective on one issue that is then expressed by some of the means above can often trigger changes in other perspectives, creating an ongoing domino effect.

  1. Controversial Issues Today: Have students select a controversial social issue that is of interest to them. Students research the various perspectives on their issue and write short summaries of the perspective of those against the issue and those who support the issue. These summaries should include explanations of the arguments/ reasons each side cites to support their views. Then, students make a claim about an event/achievement/publication/etc. that they think could change public opinion/perspectives on this issue. They should explain their idea in detail, including how and why their idea would create this change.
  1. Historical Figures Weigh In: Students select a key person from the women’s suffrage movement and write a short essay about how they believe that person would feel about a contemporary controversial issue. For example, what would be Susan B. Anthony’s perspective on women in combat roles? What would Alice Paul think about gay marriage? Students should use research about the individual and the issue to make specific arguments in support of their claim.

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