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Capstone Project A: Community Project

50 min

  • Handout A: Carrie Chapman Catt Speech Excerpt
  • Handout B: Solution Statements
  • Handout C: Project Pathway
  • Handout D: Gathering the Knowledge
  • Handout E: Identifying the Stakeholders
  • Handout F: Interviewing the Experts
  • Handout G: Planning the Work
  • Handout H: Doing and Documenting the Work
  • Handout I: Reflecting and Evaluating the Work
  • Appendix G: A Pathway for Change


  1. Have students read the portion of Carrie Chapman Catt’s speech, Handout A: Carrie Chapman Catt Speech Excerpt from August 26, 1920, upon the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment protecting women’s right to vote.
  2. Having studied the struggle for women’s suffrage, students should have a sense of the sacrifice, dedication, and cost of the crusade to win the vote for women. Have students brainstorm to compile a list of attributes that suffragists demonstrated. They might list terms such as courage, perseverance, relentlessness, contribution, integrity, initiative, justice, responsibility, diligence, resourcefulness, pursuit of excellence, teamwork, etc.
  3. Catt stated that those working to gain the right for women to vote were motivated by their “hope that women would aim higher than their own selfish ambitions, that they would serve the common good.”


Activity 1 » 20 minutes

  1. Ask students to brainstorm a list of challenges or problems that exist in their own community (broadly defined at this point). After scribing these challenges on the board, comment that each of these challenges is an opportunity for people to exercise civic virtue in order to serve the common good. Note also that reasonable people can disagree about how to define the common good as well as what strategies are appropriate to achieve the common good. Have students work in small groups and distribute a copy of Handout B: Solution Statements to each group. They should work together to fill in blanks in the statement below for as many of the difficulties as possible in 10 minutes.
    People interested in serving the common good could help alleviate ___________(community difficulty)____________ by applying _____________(virtue)______________ through _____________(action)______________.
  2. Have students cut apart their Handout B: Solution Statements and hand them in to you. Before the next class, go through the solution statements and sort those that address the same or similar community problems.
  3. Prior to the next class, you will group the solution statements by topic, posting statements that address similar problems together on the classroom walls.

Activity 2 » 20 minutes
Distribute copies of Appendix G: A Pathway for Change. Among the steps implemented by men and women working to win the vote for women were the following. Have students fill in the table. First, working with the class as a whole, review and fill in how the suffragists carried out each step. As you go, have students also evaluate how effectively the suffragists implemented each step, using a plus or minus sign for each. If students rate the suffragists’ action as ineffective, they should state how the reformers could have done it better.

  1. Define the problem.
  2. State a goal.
  3. Pursue education.
  4. Work with others to organize and set goals.
  5. Build on prior knowledge of similar or related efforts.
  6. Join forces with other like-minded people or groups—seek allies and public support.
  7. Participate in ongoing constructive challenge within your work group.
  8. Reevaluate progress toward goal and correct course as necessary.
  9. Think “outside the box” and evaluate the best ways to respond to others pursuing the same goals by different methods.


Activity 1 » 10 minutes
With Solution Statements sorted and posted on the classroom walls based on similar community problems, allow students time to do a gallery walk and view all the statements. Then each student should stand beside the group of opportunity statements that s/he is most interested in working with and/or will allow them to make the most important contribution to the common good. When students assemble in groups around their selected activities, lead a brief discussion to answer this question, and have each group report.

  • How is the problem we hope to alleviate similar to or different from the struggle for suffrage?

Activity 2 » 30 minutes

  1. Next, have students take their respective solution statements off the wall and sit down to collaborate within their work groups. They will use their collected solution statements as a rough draft to construct their responses as appropriate for the remainder of the table on Handout C: Project Pathway. They will fill in how each of these steps will apply to their specific effort to serve the common good while you circulate to monitor, assist, and advise. Note that students should own the decision-making and planning to the extent prudent for your students.
  2. Working with Handout C: Project Pathway, they should begin to sketch out a timeline and specific tasks for each member of their group.

Activity 3 » Time to be determined according to teacher and community variables
Using the handouts listed below, students plan, implement, document, and reflect on their project to benefit the common good in their community.

  • Handout C: Project Pathway
  • Handout D: Gathering the Knowledge
  • Handout E: Identifying the Stakeholders
  • Handout F: Interviewing the Experts
  • Handout G: Planning the Work
  • Handout H: Doing and Documenting the Work
  • Handout I: Reflecting and Evaluating the Work

Tell students to consider the various community challenges that they generated in their brainstorming, and to decide on a few in which they could develop a project to achieve the most important contribution to the common good.,

Student Handouts