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The first picket line, Feb 1917

[Detail] The first picket line, Feb 1917 College

Lesson Procedure

Lesson 1: Motivational, Brainstorming, and Vocabulary Activities

Motivational Student Activity (10-15 minutes)

  1. Conduct a class vote for a current political candidate with only boys voting.
  2. Tally votes, but do not reveal results.
  3. Conduct a girls' vote.
  4. Reveal the winner, based on the boys' vote.
  5. Add the girls' vote to the boys' vote.
  6. Discuss results. Did the vote change by adding the female vote?
  7. Chart or graph results.

Student Brainstorming Activity (10-15 minutes)

  1. Discuss these questions with students. How would you persuade someone to vote for you? How could you effect change individually or as a member of a group?
  2. Brainstorm and compile a list of strategies that people use to influence others' opinions and, thus, effect change. Refer, if needed, to the list of strategies listed on the Preparation page of this lesson.

Vocabulary Activity (25 minutes)

Review suffrage, campaign and election-related vocabulary:
address, association, banner, broadside, convention, declaration, delegate, editorial, endorse, ephemera, issues, pageant, pamphlet, persuade, petition, picket line, platform, political party, proclamation, resolution, strategy, suffrage


Lesson 2: Review Activity

  1. Review how to analyze photographs, documents and ephemera.
  2. Give each student a copy of a photograph.
  3. Help students analyze the photograph and record their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher's guide Analyzing Photographs and Prints to focus and prompt analysis and discussion.
  4. Next, direct students to a piece of text.
  5. Help students analyze the text and record their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher's guide Analyzing Books and Other Printed Texts to focus and prompt analysis and discussion.

Lesson 3: Student Small Group and Class Discussion Activities

Student Small Group Activity (30-35 minutes)

  1. Before beginning, display suffrage vocabulary list prominently in the classroom. Some students might need individual copies of the list.
  2. Divide students into small groups.
  3. Distribute several primary source documents to each group.
  4. Instruct students to examine the documents and to identify strategies that were used by suffragists to influence and change attitudes about suffrage for women.
  5. Have each group generate a list of these suffrage strategies.
  6. Have a reporter from each group share identified strategies.
  7. Compile a class list.

Student Class Discussion Activity (10-15 minutes)

  1. Before beginning, appoint a class recorder to take notes on chart paper.
  2. Discuss the importance of women having the right to vote.
  3. Discuss the struggle and strategies they used to earn suffrage.
  4. Discussion questions might include: Why is women's vote important today? Do more men than women vote today? Why or why not? Is it important to vote? Why do you think people vote? Why do you think people don't vote.


Lesson Four: Student Individual Activity/Project/Product

Each student will:

  1. Identify a voter related issue which causes people at the local, state or national level to voice their opinion (examples: political candidates, environment, education)
  2. Decide which candidate or election issue to support.
  3. Select a suffrage/campaign/election strategy from the class generated list which would be effective in influencing people's opinions about a current candidate or election issue.
  4. Explain why this strategy was selected and why it would be effective.
  5. Design a document or ephemera to influence public opinion. (Examples: button, poster, speech)

Extension Activities

  1. Search the web for additional past and present examples of campaign and suffrage documents and ephemera. Possible starting places include:
  2. Complete a voter registration form.
  3. Write a persuasive letter to the local paper encouraging citizens to vote.
  4. Hold a post-election party.
  5. Invite a local candidate or a speaker from the League of Women Voters to discuss elections and voting with students.
  6. As a class, collect items for and create an election ephemera scrapbook or display.
  7. Using the American Memory suffrage timeline, create a suffrage timeline museum to depict major events in the struggle for womens' suffrage. Divide students into research groups based on the time periods and categories listed below. Gather documents and create displays in chronological order. Encourage students to be creative. Invite other classes to visit the museum.
    Suggested Time Periods:
    1800 - 1849
    1850 - 1874
    1875 - 1899
    1900 - 1920
    Current elections

    Divide each time period above into the following categories:
    Historical context
    Tip: For current candidates, focus on their issues, education and personal information (family, hobbies, etc.)
  8. Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast past and present strategies used to win elections.