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Abolitionists and Women's Suffragists Lesson for Kids

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Abolitionists & Women's Suffrage Lesson for Kids

Abolitionists & Women's Suffrage Lesson for Kids

This is the 24th lesson in a series of 27 hands-on lessons covering U.S. American History through 1865. This lesson focuses on abolitionists like Sojourner Truth and women's suffragists like Susan B. Anthony. I used this plan while teaching a 45 minute history class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes a biography report, history notebook page, history song, our favorite children's books, YouTube video, a history joke, & a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

Student biography presentation on Susan B. Anthony

Student biography presentation on Susan B. Anthony

Student Biography Presentation: Susan B. Anthony

1. Student biography presentation on Susan B. Anthony

Review & Presidents Song

2. Review: What was the Oregon Trail? (The trail many pioneers took to travel out West.) What was the Battle of the Alamo? (A battle fought between the Mexicans & Texans for Texas independence that inspired Texans to fight harder for their independence.) In 1848 what was discovered in California? (gold) What did Eli Whitney invent? (cotton gin & interchangeable parts) What did the Erie Canal connect? (the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean) What's something you remember about Harriet Tubman? (former slave, helped many other slaves escape, etc.) What do we call the route slaves would take while escaping? (Underground Railroad) What star would they follow? (North Star/Polaris)

3. Now let's go through all the Presidents. Sing through the entire song 2 times while either showing the video or flipping through pictures of the Presidents. (Be sure to add in "Donald Trump" at the end.)

You will need:

  • Screen to show the below video or a book showing Presidents or point to their pictures on a President place mat

U.S. Presidents Song

Only boys get to vote

Only boys get to vote

Boys Vote on Books

4. Today the boys will get to decide what we're going to do. They will vote on each activity.

  • First we need to decide which book to read. Should we read My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner or Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann?
  • Hand out a paper ballot with a picture of each of the books and have them circle the book they'd like for us to read.
  • Then then can put their ballot in the "ballot box."
  • Read the book they voted for us to read.

You will need:

  • My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner or other book on Sojourner Truth
  • A book that would probably only appeal to girls such as Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
  • For each boy student, a small paper ballot that has small pictures of the two books
  • a ballot box (any box with a slit cut on one side)

5. Hopefully the majority of the boys picked the book on Sojourner Truth. Read My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner.

Boys voting again

Boys voting again


6. Sojourner Truth had been a slave. After she was free, she fought for other slaves to also be free. She was an abolitionist, who tried to abolish slavery. Abolish means "to end or get rid of."

  • Who did we learn about last week who was also an abolitionist? (Harriet Tubman) Had she been a slave? (Yes)
  • There were a number of abolitionists who had been slaves who had either escaped or been freed by their owners. Another famous one was Fredrick Douglass. [Show his picture.]
  • [Show a picture of an Underground Railroad Station.] Some abolitionists had white skin. Many of them belonged to a religion called Quakers (just like the name of an oatmeal brand). Many of the abolitionists never became famous. They were just normal people like you & me & your moms & dads who helped slaves while they were escaping in the Underground Railroad. They might have given them food or let them sleep in their barns or in hidden bedrooms during the day. Why would it be during the day? (Many escaping slaves traveled at night.)
  • [Show a picture of Harriet Beecher Stowe.] Some abolitionists wrote newspaper articles or even books to let others know about how horrible slavery was. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a book called Uncle Tom's Cabin. Some of the story is about a slave named Uncle Tom who has a nice master & then a really mean master. I won't tell you what happens to Uncle Tom, but I did read the book. It's a sad story.

You will need:

Scroll to Continue
  • pictures of Fredrick Douglass, and Underground Railroad Station, & Harriet Beecher Stowe

7. Now it's time to vote on the next activity. Again, only the boys get to vote.

  • Next, should we have a spa day activity & paint our fingernails & toes or should we color a picture?
  • Pass out paper ballots to each boy. Each ballot should have a picture of fingernail painting & a picture of crayons.

You will need:

  • 1 paper ballot per boy with a picture of fingernail painting & a picture of crayons.
  • ballot box used in previous voting activity

Harriet Beecher Stowe coloring page from http://www.doverpublications .com/

Harriet Beecher Stowe coloring page from http://www.doverpublications .com/

8. Hopefully the boys chose the coloring activity. Pass out pictures of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Have the children color some of the page. Ask the children what they think the pictures represent. They can put the picture in their history notebooks.

You will need per child:

Women's suffragists (the right to vote)

9. As the children are coloring, ask them if they like that the boys have been the only ones to decide on what we're doing today. What are their thoughts on that?

  • During this time while some people were abolitionists, trying to free slaves & get rid of slavery, some of the women were realizing that they also were not free because they couldn't vote.
  • They were called women's suffragists. Suffrage means "the right to vote."
  • Some people, like Sojourner Truth, were abolitionists & women's suffragists.
  • Read Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport.

You will need:

  • Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport
Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Money & Review

10. Women have been allowed to vote in America for only the past 100 years! This was made possible through the work of many women's suffragists including Susan B. Anthony, who died before the U.S. government made it legal for women to vote in all states. Because of all her hard work, Susan B. Anthony's face was put on a dollar coin. [Pass around the dollar coin.]

You will need:

  • Susan B. Anthony dollar coin

11. What was an abolitionist? (Someone who wanted to abolish or end slavery.) Name a famous abolitionist. (Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, & others) Many abolitionists were of what religion? (Quaker) What was a woman's suffragist? (Someone who thought women should have the right to vote.) Name a famous women's suffragist. (Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, & others)

11. Assign next week's student biography report on Abraham Lincoln.

We read many books on abolitionists & women's suffragists. In addition to the two used in this lesson, these were our 7 favorites:

  • Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone
  • Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport
  • Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell
  • Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade
  • Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President by Ann Malaspina
  • Frederick Douglass: Writer, Speaker, and Opponent of Slavery by Suzanne Slade
  • Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Women's Rights (Ready-to-read SOFA) by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Great Stories Volume 5 CD Album (Great Stories, Volume 5) - Sojourner Truth

Schoolhouse Rock - Women's Suffrage Movement

Image credit: https://www.azquotes .com/quote/1166842

Image credit: https://www.azquotes .com/quote/1166842

Native Americans & Columbus Lesson
Jamestown Lesson
Pilgrims Lesson
Thirteen Colonies Lesson
French and Indian War Lesson
Colonial Period & Revolution Rumblings Lesson
Boston Massacre & Boston Tea Party Lesson
First Shots & Declaration of Independence Lesson
American War for Independence Battles Lesson
Valley Forge & Battle of Yorktown Lesson
American Literature Lesson & American War for Independence Review
Colonial Christmas Party
Constitution Lesson
Three Branches of Government Lesson
President George Washington Lesson
Louisiana Purchase Lesson
War of 1812 Lesson
Monroe Doctrine Lesson
Trail of Tears Lesson
Oregon Trail & Battle of Alamo Lesson
California Gold Rush & Pony Express Lesson
American Industrial Revolution Lesson
Underground Railroad Lesson
Abolitionists & Women Suffragists Lesson
Civil War: The Confederate States & Abraham Lincoln Lesson
Civil War Battles Lesson
Civil War Party & End of Year Review Game
Fun, Free Hands-on Unit Studies (My Lessons in All Subjects)

© 2018 Shannon


Shannon (author) from Florida on August 13, 2018:

That is wonderful! I am very grateful for those who fought for women suffrage.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 12, 2018:

This is especially interesting as we have been marking the role of the suffragettes this year in the UK.

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