Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Women's Suffrage and Why We Vote
Heidi Waddock Piatchek
Middle School History
Time Frame:
Three days
Women's History
Gender Studies
Women's History
Women's History

Grade Levels:
7, 8, 9

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

 The students will read about events and people significant to the women's suffrage movement in the United States.  They will review documents, photographs, poems and listen to music associated with the movement.  They will compose a poster using four primary source documents.


I want the children to grasp the importance of being a voting citizen and to understand how Americans in the past have fought for the rights we enjoy today.  I want them to understand the struggle women went through to get the right to vote and be active citizens.

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

  • Missouri Show Me Standards
  • Principle s of the Republic Grade 7:  SS1  1.6, 4,2  Grade 8:  SS1 1.6, 4.2
  • Principles and Process of Government Systems Grade :  SS2 4.2
  • Missouri, United States, and World History Grade 8:  SS3 1.8
  • Relationship of Individuals and Groups to Intuitions and Tradition Grade 8:  SS6 1.9

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Full description of activity or assignment.


  1. Intro: Play audio of song Daughters of Freedom http://www.loc.gov/item/sm1871.02334
  2. Pass out primary source document Susan B.  Anthony’s petition to congress in 1872. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/woman-suffrage/anthony-petition.html   Read together.  Ask:  What means was she using to be heard?  Why did she choose congress?  What means do we use today to be heard?
  3. Read Sojourner Truth’s speech: Discuss. 

     Day Three: 

     1.  Research individually the primary sources          http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/womens-suffrage/  http://recordsofrights.org/records/379/suffrage-parade

        2.  Students will pick four to print out and paste on a poster with a brief description for each                event.

    3.  Students will pick four to print out and paste on a poster with a brief description for each event.

They will finish as homework.

Day Four:

1. Watch video clip “Why vote.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9VdyPbbzlI 

  1. Fill out Index card with name and top reason to vote. Tell reason to class and hang reasons up on wall. 
  2. Finish poster research if needed.

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



  • The posters will count as a homework grade if completed correctly
  • The students will take a ten question quiz on the unit.