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Facilitation Notes for Using the Curriculum

Votes for Women: The Story of the Nineteenth Amendment provides classroom resources and activities to help students explore the history of women’s suffrage in the United States through background narratives and primary sources. It includes scaffolding to assist students in analysis of historical events and application to current controversies.

A unique feature of the curriculum is Appendix G: Pathway for Change, a graphic organizer to encourage students to consider the driving question:

How does one carry out long-term change in order to better align institutions with principles of liberty, justice, and equality within a constitutional order?

The final lesson also provides several options to equip students in carrying out their own project-based application of social change to address a community challenge. Having analyzed the history of women’s suffrage as an example of what can be achieved when people exercise such virtues as courage, perseverance, initiative, collaboration, civil discourse and direct action, students are encouraged to study their own community to apply those same character strengths to solve a local problem or to teach others about this important chapter in the American drama.

The book’s front matter includes, in addition to the standard table of contents and book credits, a Principles and Virtues Glossary. Students will become familiar with the interplay between such governing principles as equality, liberty, justice, and separation of powers on the one hand, and essential civic virtues such as civil discourse, humility, integrity, and responsibility, on the other. Through reflection activities in each lesson, students will develop the habit of thinking about self-government through the lens of these crucial principles and virtues.

Within each lesson are activities which employ each of the Appendices found in the back of the book:


  • Appendix A: Amending the Constitution: In Appendix A, students will analyze Article V of the U.S. Constitution, reflecting on applications of the constitutional amendment process for each lesson in Votes for Women: The Story of the Nineteenth Amendment.
  • Appendix B: Timeline and Quotes: Appendix B is a timeline of major events in the struggle for women’s suffrage, along with contemporaneous quotes for each lesson.
  • Appendix C: Timeline Cards: Appendix C includes the same timeline events found in Appendix B, but they are designed for the teacher to make individual cards for each event so that students may build a class timeline on the classroom or corridor wall. Prior to the lesson the teacher will need to prepare and plan the layout of the timeline cards. We recommend that teachers make each lesson’s timeline cards on a different color of paper, because that can help class members find details in the appropriate lesson for review and study. Using cardstock and laminating the cards are further recommendations. Further, it will be necessary to plan for the use of wall space in the classroom or corridor. For example, will students find it most helpful to build a Lesson Timeline in which each lesson’s events are displayed separately from those of the other lessons (which is how they are arranged in Appendix C: Timeline Cards)? Or, should students leave space around the room to build an overall Women’s Suffrage Timeline in which the events from various lessons are intermingled chronologically?
  • Appendix D: For Further Study: Appendix D provides a bibliography for further study, listed by lesson.
  • Appendix E: Declaration of Independence
  • Appendix F: United States Constitution
  •  Appendix G: A Pathway for Change: Appendix G is a graphic organizer designed to be used throughout the study, as students grapple with the driving question:

How does one carry out long-term change in order to better align institutions with principles of liberty, justice, and equality within a constitutional order?

One of our hopes for the use of this curriculum is that the student will grasp the costs and benefits of change within a constitutional order. One increasingly common characteristic of modern life is the expectation of immediate results. People use online apps for immediate answers, rapid food delivery, prompt appointments, extemporaneous conversation and instant outrage. Good and speedy ways exist to solve some of our problems, but others require long-term commitment and a willingness to appreciate what Elizabeth Cady Stanton called “winter wheat”: “We are sowing winter wheat, which the coming spring will see sprout, and other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.”

Radical and rapid change is not necessarily bad, but the slow process of constitutional change allows for many people’s thinking and attitudes to adjust, contributing to stability for the resulting improvements. The pattern is illustrated in the slow steps toward justice and equality in several movements: abolition of slavery, civil rights, prison reform, and the rights of the accused, to name a few. The challenges of course, are patience, determination, resilience, and continued belief that the system will eventually allow for success. Under the rule of law, and given these virtues, the arc of the moral universe can “bend toward justice.” (Theodore Parker, 1853)

We invite both teachers and students to explore Votes for Women: The Story of the Nineteenth Amendment. Through this heroic story of perseverance and overcoming injustice, all can enhance their civic understanding, skills, and dispositions to better understand the past and courageously address today’s challenges.