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Create a Cultural Contributions Map

Students identify notable women within a U.S. region or state, write brief biographies of their lives and select sites to honor each woman for her accomplishments. They will plot the sites to create a cultural contributions map of the U.S.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, brainstorm a list of famous buildings, landmarks or other sites that are named after people. Circle each site that is named for a woman. Chances are, the majority of sites won't be circled. Based on those results, have students discuss why people think more women should be recognized and honored for their contributions to society.
  2. Remind students that, as the article noted, people in Paris are working to highlight women's achievements. They have created an interactive cultural contribution map that guides visitors to architectural structures, pictorial works, sculptures, workshops and places of art and culture created by women.
  3. Inform students that they will create their own cultural contribution map. As a class, brainstorm a list of categories to include. Create a map key and a symbol for each category, leaving room for students to write site names on the symbols. Then make copies of the symbols.
  4. Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Assign each pair or group a U.S. region or state. Give students time to conduct research. Challenge them to identify at least one woman to honor in each category within their geographical area.
  5. Have students write a brief biography about each woman and her achievements. Alphabetize the biographies to create a class book.
  6. Have students select one site within their area to honor each woman. Have students name the sites and write those names on the appropriate symbols. Display a large U.S. map. Invite students to plot their sites on the map.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to introduce the class to each woman they chose to honor. Challenge them to explain why each woman was important and why the site they chose is a good place to recognize her contributions to society.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, select three categories to investigate. Then divide the class into small groups and assign each group one U.S. region. Challenge students to identify two women to honor within each category in their region.
Grades 5-6:
As a class, select three categories to investigate. Then divide the class into pairs and assign each pair one U.S. region. Challenge students to identify three women to honor within each category in their region.
Grades 7-8:
As a class, select four categories to investigate. Then divide the class into pairs and assign each pair one U.S. state. Challenge students to identify three women to honor within each category in their state.
Grades 9-10:
As a class, select five categories to investigate. Then divide the class into pairs and assign each pair one U.S. state. Challenge students to identify five women to honor within each category in their state.