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30-60 minutes
  • Journalism
  • Politics
  • Women's Rights
  • 6-12

  1. Tell students they’re going to do an activity to understand how social movements attempt to change people’s minds about an important issue. Explain that the women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long effort to win women the right to vote, which finally culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. During this long battle, both supporters of woman suffrage and those opposed created many messages to try and win supporters for their side. Some of those messages are presented on the Women’s Suffrage Media Map.
  2. Hand out the Give Women the Vote? worksheet. Go over the persuasive techniques on the first page to make sure students have a general understanding of what they will be looking for.
  3. Assign or let students choose an artifact from the media map to analyze. They may work in teams, pairs or individually.
  4. When students have completed their worksheet, look at the media map artifacts as a class and discuss the questions below.

  • Give Women the Vote? worksheet (download), one per student
  • Access to the Women’s Suffrage Media Map below

  1. Which techniques were most commonly used? Why? Are these same techniques used widely today?
  2. Which techniques do you think are the most effective? Why?
  3. Do you think these persuasive messages/artifacts affected the eventual outcome of the suffrage debate? Explain.
  4. How are today’s persuasive messages similar to those from the suffrage debate? How are they different? How do you explain the similarities and differences?
  5. What additional persuasive techniques do the modern-day media have available to them due to technological developments?
  6. Why is it important to understand the tools and influence of persuasive messages? What impact did they have on history? What impact do they have on our lives today?

Brainstorm current social and political issues that generate widespread debate (such as gun control, soda taxes, immigration, etc.). Divide your class into small groups and let them select one of the topics. Have each group gather 8-10 examples of persuasive messages surrounding their chosen issue. Remind students to find examples of messages representing different viewpoints. Have each team prepare a presentation about the arguments and persuasive techniques they found being used in the debate.

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