Women Who Shape History: Education Resources

For use in the classroom or your community, a list of lesson plans and other teaching materials on women’s history in America

Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, Nancy Grace Roman, Mae Jemison (Maia Weinstock)
smithsonian.com

These resources, compiled by the education teams across the Smithsonian Institution, feature lessons, activities, exhibitions, videos and tools that can be used to teach students about women's history in America.

Can You Name #5WomenArtists?
Use this Learning Lab collection as a response to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.'s social media campaign asking, "Can you name five women artists (#5WomenArtists)?" The artists featured are Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, Barbara Kruger, Alma Thomas and Elaine de Kooning with short biographical notes, selected works and learning resources.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Grade(s): K-12

Women Paving the Way to Mars
Women have been and continue to be an important part of the aerospace industry. In this episode of STEM in 30, students will explore the women who are helping pave the way to Mars.
Provider: National Air and Space Museum
Grade(s): K-12

Women in World War II
This collection teaches students about the changing role of women during World War II: their role in the workplace, increasing presence in the military, and participation in voluntary organizations that supported the war. Students should think about how these activities reinforced traditional notions of gender divisions while they also allowed women to experience new activities.
Provider: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Grade(s): 3-8

Amy Sherald, First Prize, The Outwin 2016
The National Portrait Gallery’s recently unveiled the portrait of Former First Lady Michelle Obama. In this video, students will learn more about the artist, Amy Sherald.
Provider: National Portrait Gallery
Grade(s): K-12

Create a Women’s History Museum
Students will identify famous women, categorize them into groups and conduct research to learn more about them. They will use what they learned to create a classroom museum focused on women's history.
Provider: Smithsonian TweenTribune.com
Grade(s): 3-10

Create a Statue Honoring a Woman
Students will identify all of the statues of women in a selected area, plot the statues' locations on a map and explain why the statues exist. Then they will select another historical woman with a connection to that place, decide where a statue honoring her should be erected and create a sketch of a statue honoring her achievements.
Provider: Smithsonian TweenTribune.com
Grade(s): 3-10

Analyze Leadership Qualities
Students will create presentations and encourage classmates to compare the candidate's qualifications to the list of leadership traits and characteristics the class has identified. After all candidates have been introduced, poll the class to see which of leaders they would most like to have in charge. Challenge students to explain why this candidate rose above the others.
Provider: Smithsonian TweenTribune.com
Grade(s): 3-10

Create a Student-Led Organization
Students will brainstorm ideas for a student-led organization that is all-inclusive. They will iron out the details for how it will work and design a logo and other items that reflect their "brand." Then they will create a brochure that will entice fellow students to join their group.
Provider: Smithsonian TweenTribune.com
Grade(s): 3-10

Investigate Fields of Engineering
Students will select a field of engineering and conduct research to learn more about it. They will write a summary telling what surprised them the most. Then they will create a brochure to teach others about their chosen field of engineering.
Provider: Smithsonian TweenTribune.com
Grade(s): 3-10

Get Creative with History
Students will write a comic strip or graphic novel about a historical topic that features someone whose contributions have been forgotten over time. Their plots will incorporate related objects found at Smithsonian museums.
Provider: Smithsonian TweenTribune.com
Grade(s): 3-10

Camera Creativity and Collaboration
In this activity, children will take a close look at a photograph of Martha Graham, then collaborate with a partner or family member to create their own dance photographs.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 2-4

Building Beautiful Buildings Homepage
Julia Morgan Built a Castle is a book about one of America's first women architects, who designed almost 800 buildings during her career. Students will explore the story by reading together. Then they will complete activities to learn more about architecture and how buildings are designed.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Conduct a Genealogical Study
Genealogy is the study of family ancestries and histories, and a great way to learn women's history. In this activity, students will learn about the methods and tools needed to conduct a genealogical interview.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Great Women of Our Pasts Homepage
This OurStory module, entitled Great Women of Our Pasts, includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings related to the topic of women's history.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Material and Symbol: The Lincoln-Keckley Dress
This teacher's resource challenges students to think about the Lincoln-Keckley as an object that has multiple symbolic meanings.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 9-12

Reading Mama Went to Jail for the Vote
During this activity, students will actively read Mama Went to Jail for the Vote, using the suggested reading strategies. They will build reading skills, develop vocabulary, and learn about the women’s suff­rage movement and the importance of voting.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Role Model Medal
Students will recognize a female role model in their lives by creating a special symbolic pin.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 1-4

Winning the Vote for Women
Students will learn about women’s struggles in the United States to obtain the right to vote. They will learn more about the 1920 suffrage movement and how women finally achieved victory with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

History of Voting in the United States: Create a Virtual Exhibit
This activity challenges students to think about the 1898 Standard Voting Machine and the democratization of the voting process in the United States.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 9-12

The Gear & Lever Voting Machine
In this online exhibition, students will learn about Gear and Lever voting, meant to ensure the confidentiality and efficiency of the election process.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 9-12

Banished: Louisa Susannah Wells, Loyalist Woman
Students will learn about Louisa Susannah Wells, a female colonist who was loyal to King George III, who was banished from America and returned to England after the War of Independence. They will take what they learn and answer questions objectively without judging her decisions.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 6-12

Women’s Role in the Civil War
Students will gain an understanding of the role women played in the Civil War. They will appreciate the ways in which museums use objects to study how people in the past did their jobs.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 3-6

Changing Gender Roles on the World War II Home Front
Kick-off a research project on gender roles on the World War II home front with two brief video clips and selection of primary sources.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 6-12

From Many, One: Maria Isabel Solis Thomas, Shipyard Worker
Maria Isabel Solis Thomas moved across the country to work in a shipyard on the World War II home front. Listen to her story, and then study the supporting primary sources to answer the discussion questions.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 6-12

Autobiography Through Objects
Students will analyze images and objects relating to Celia Cruz and create an exhibition using personal objects.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

First Lady for the Environment Homepage
Students will learn more about First Lady Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and her work to protect the environment and bring beauty to every community.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Convince Me!
Students will examine examples of persuasive writing from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, then compose persuasive statements about an environmental cause.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): 4-6

Discover and Protect Nature
Students will learn about Rachel Carson and how her book Silent Spring changed the way people thought about their relationship to nature.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Making a Quilt Square
Quilts do more than just keep us warm; they preserve history by telling us stories about the people who made them. In this hands-on activity, students will learn about women's history by studying quilts.
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-4

Smithsonian Women Scientists
Smithsonian women scientists are an adventurous group: from hunting meteorites in Antarctica, exploring the farthest reaches of the Universe from remote mountain tops, to measuring mercury levels from the depths of the ocean to the canopy of the rain forest. Learn more about a few of these amazing women.
Provider: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Grade(s): K-12

Women Breaking Musical Barriers
For Women’s History Month, Smithsonian Folkways offers free audio tracks and videos featuring women around the world who “break musical barriers.” Lesson plans and student activities are included.
Provider: Smithsonian Folkways
Grade(s): K-12

Exploring the History of Women Inventors
This website explores the historical accomplishments of women inventors and includes a video, activities, and a teacher resource guide about eight female inventors. 
Provider: Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
Grade(s): K-12

Women in Aviation and Space History
This website features women's contributions to flight, their stories, and claims to fame throughout history. This guide leads to all the women that have artifacts or photographs in the National Air and Space Museum.
Provider: National Air and Space Museum
Grade(s): K-12

Setting the Precedent
This virtual tour introduces four exceptional American women who succeeded in business in the twentieth century. The website features biographical information, timelines, games, and historical background for each of the women. 
Provider: National Museum of American History
Grade(s): K-12

African American Women Artists
The Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture prepared this annotated bibliography on African American Women Artists. 
Provider: The Anacostia Community Museum
Grade(s): K-12

Native American Women
A list of recommended readings about Native American women prepared by the National Museum of the American Indian Resource Center.
Provider: National Museum of the American Indian
Grade(s): K-12

Harriet Tubman, a Children’s Bibliopgraphy
The Anacostia Museum's Office of Education offers a reading list for children about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. 
Provider: The Anacostia Community Museum
Grade(s): K-12

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus