Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

The Feminist Movement, Then and Now
Zach Shockey
Time Frame:
4 fifty minute class periods (two for research, two for presentations)
Women's History
Gender Studies
Women's History
Women's History

Grade Levels:
11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will work in pairs, examining primary source documents from the storied history of the Feminist Movement. The end product will be a powerpoint or Prezi describing a historical period in the movement. Potential topics include Women’s Suffrage, reproductive rights, the ERA, women in the military, among others. Students should be concerned not necessarily with the methods of protest, but its goals. How are all the different periods of the movement similar? Different?

  • I think many students have a misconception about what the Feminist Movement is and what it has achieved over the past two centuries. The research they conduct will help them gain an understanding for where women started in American society, and as a result a better understanding of how they got to the position they are in today.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


  •  The student will accurately analyze the role people, business, labor unions and government play in the struggle for equality before the law including boycotts and strikes, as well as others, such as civil disobedience and protest. (R.1, R.2, R.7, W.2, W.6, W.7, W.8, W.9)
  • Compile and assess various sources of research. (R.1, W.7, W.8)
  • Paraphrase and summarize ideas presented in research. (R.2, W.9)

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Schaefer, Richard T., Sociology, 12th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2009
  • Dicker, Rory, “Equality and Liberation,” powerpoint presentation, Independence, Missouri, 2014

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  •      Colker, Ruth, “Separate is Never Equal: The Experience of Mt. Lebanon, Testimony of a High School Pitcher,” Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement, Duke University Special Collections

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • I will start off the activity by asking the students what they think a feminist is. Other questions will include “What do feminists hope to achieve?” “Have they been successful in effecting positive change for women in the past?” What gender-based injustices are feminists currently working to rectify?” “How have feminists changed the way we think about the traditional roles of males and females in our society?”
  • Next, I will introduce them to a selection of slides from Rory Dicker’s powerpoint presentation “Equality and Liberation,” focusing on the various time periods of the feminist movement. I will pay special attention to the current women’s rights groups and media (Jezebel.com, Hollaback, Ms. Magazine, slut walks)
  • I will then give the students the parameters of their research project. They will choose a specific Feminist group from a time period of their choosing. They will create a presentation in which they will provide the following information: The name of the group and their years of operation, their primary goals, famous acts of civil disobedience, and achievements.
  • The students will have to find the information using primary sources (no Wikipedia). I will assist the students in this process by giving them a list of helpful websites. Of course, if they are researching a current group, the entire website for that group constitutes a primary source.
  • The students, after completing their research and powerpoint, will present them to the rest of the class. Each student will be required to take notes during each presentation. They should be looking for similarities between their group and the ones of their classmates.
  • After listening and note-taking, the students will be asked to write an essay of no less than five hundred words that answers the questions I asked them in step one of this description.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

I will assess the student powerpoints using this rubric: http://mrmellott1003.weebly.com/uploads/1/0/6/0/1060080/slave_dancer_powerpoint_report_rubric.png

Students will also turn in their essays as a component of their assessment. They will be graded using this rubric: http://www.croninsclass.com/uploads/4/1/4/2/4142289/8437194_orig.png