Women's History Month Lesson Plan

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Students will:

  • Use photographs, cartoons, and history to understand the evolution women’s roles and the social reaction to equality movements.
  • Consider the historical reasons that contributed to the creation of legal limits for women and how they changed over time.
  • Discuss and assess the importance of constitutional amendments expanding women’s rights (19th Amendment) and the ever expanding role of women in government.

Standards: NCSS Standard: VI. Power, Authority, History, & Government

Time Required: 1-2 classes

Grade Level: 6 - 12th grade

Topics: History, Government


Understanding History with a Timeline

Students use the timeline to illustrate how the role of women and their involvement in government has evolved throughout the years. Students will be able to learn about the struggles, successes and predecessors whose work helped us get to where we are today.

Here are some ways you can incorporate the timeline into your instruction:

  • Provide an overview of the roles of women throughout U.S. history. Encourage students to explore the timeline with a partner and talk about key themes they notice. Students can also take notes on dates or events that they believe to be important. Encourage them to ask questions about specific events, laws or historical figures.
  • Create a new timeline. As a group project, have them create a graphic representation of the timeline using pictures, cartoons, quotes from speeches, podcasts, videos, and other relevant information. The timeline can serve as a visual reminder of what students have already learned and what events they will be learning about next. 
    • Hang the timelines that the students have created in the classroom. Have students find the events on the timeline and watch any related podcasts or videos that are embedded in the timeline.
  • Discuss on cause and effect. Choose events from the timeline and challenge students to discover a connection. Why was a certain law passed? What was happening? What were women's rights after that law was passed?
  • Review what students have learned. It can be difficult for students to recall sequences of historical events and the timeline is a great resource for helping students see the complete picture of how women’s role have changed over time.

About Women’s History Month

Review the Women’s History Month site and answer the following questions:

  • When is the Women’s History Month celebrated?
  • What is the purpose of this celebration?
  • When was it created?
  • Who was the first president to proclaim Women's History Month?

Pick 3 Famous Women. Explore the site and identify 3 women that have shaped U.S. history, culture, etc.

  • Explain in a short paragraph the valuable contributions they’ve made.
  • In groups of three, have students take turns reading the short paragraphs and explain the reasons for their choices. They can select one as a group that best represents the U.S. and its values.

The New $10 Bill 

All U.S. currency has continued the tradition of portraying great male leaders and stunning landmarks. However, this is all about to change. The Treasury Department will redesign the $10 and select a portrait of a woman who was a champion for democracy in the U.S. to be on the new face on the $10 bill.

The last changes to the U.S. currency occurred between 1914 and 1928, four portrait changes occurred:  

  • $10 Andrew Jackson to Alexander Hamilton
  • $20 Grover Cleveland to Andrew Jackson
  • $500: John Marshall to William McKinley
  • $1000: Alexander Hamilton to Grover Cleveland.

Invite your class to participate of this historic event and chime in on the decision:

  • The woman should be iconic
  • Made a significant contribution to — or impact on — protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded.  
  • By law, only a portrait of a deceased person may be included on banknotes. 

Using the general theme of democracy, have students nominate possible candidates, symbols and concepts to be used on currency.

The redesigned $10 bill will be the first of a new generation of currency that revolves around the theme of democracy. Watch Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin explain more.

Extension activity:

After sharing the information from the Treasury Department, have students discuss:

  • With the list of possible women, students should break up into groups and decide which one should they choose. Have each team prepare a short essay about why they chose this person. Make sure it includes the democracy theme and the contributions of that woman.
  • Find a picture of the woman selected that could be used for the ten dollar bill, and the other features that the bill should have. This should include the symbols, concepts, etc. Have each group prepare a poster to explain their choices.
  • Groups can present each project to the class, including reading of the essay, presentation of her picture, and a session of questions and answers from the class.
  • After all presentations are over, vote as a class, and select the winning candidate.

Share your class ideas with the Treasury Department using #TheNew10 on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Good luck!


Page last updated: May 23rd, 2016