Exploring Suffragists

Grade Levels: 8 - 11


  • Students will choose suffragists on whom to focus research.
  • Students will use search strategies to find information about suffragists and the suffragist movement.
  • Students will evaluate online resources.
  • Students will organize their research information to create original products or presentations.



  1. Remind students that the word suffrage means "the right to vote."
  2. Invite students to help you list the names of suffragists or people who worked to advance the right to vote.
  3. Review Leaders of the Women's Suffrage Movement Portrait Gallery.
  4. Print out copies for students to review, or have them review the gallery online.
  5. Ask students to choose a suffragist about whom they would like to learn more.
  6. Encourage students to think about the suffragist they chose and decide what it is they would like to learn about this person.
  7. Help students record their thoughts as questions, which will be used to guide their research.
  8. Using the Internet and other reference materials, students should research their questions.
  9. Prompt students to not only find biographical information about the suffragists, but to dig deeper. For example, they might look for information that reveals what motivated the suffragist or what approaches the suffragist took to create political change.
  10. For students who need additional help searching the Internet, distribute Search Tips.
  11. Distribute the Guide to Citing Internet Resources to help students write bibliographies.
  12. Have students evaluate the accuracy of online information.
  13. Ask students to create a finished product or prepare a presentation. For example:
    • Students could present a mock talk show in which they discuss key people and events of the suffrage movement.
    • Suffrage in the News: Students could work together to create "news magazines" from the 19th century.
    • Suffrage Museum: Students could create items for a display about suffrage, including reproductions of political cartoons, timelines, and other items that will give viewers an idea of the lives and times of suffragists.
  14. Students should include bibliographies that show the sources they used to create their final products.
  15. Finally, have students share the product or presentation.

Extension Activities

  • As part of their museum displays, students may wish to include maps that show when various states ratified the 19th Amendment. Students can make a map and color-code it to indicate date of ratification.

Standards Correlations

    National Technology Education Standards

  • develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.
  • use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, preparing publications, and producing other creative works.
  • use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.

    National Council for the Social Studies

  • apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity.
  • investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment.
  • apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.


    Students should be able to:

  • choose a suffragist to research.
  • use search engines and other strategies to locate sources of information.
  • evaluate websites to determine whether they are reliable and accurate.
  • draw conclusions about which information is most pertinent in creating a deep understanding of the topic.
  • create presentations or products that show knowledge of a suffragist and the time in which she or he lived.

More on Women's Suffrage and Equality

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