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Monday Morning Ready02.24.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

How many historically noteworthy women can you name? It's likely that the number you can list off the top of your head pales in comparison to that of noteworthy men. That's not because there's a lack of fascinating women in American history. Rather, women's history has only relatively recently begun to be explored.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you think there should be a separate museum for women's history? Or, do you think it would be better to just include more about women in museums that already exist? Why?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think people have only recently begun to explore women's history?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, nearly 51 percent of the American population is female. And there is no lack of amazing historical women waiting to be acknowledged. Why, then, do you think women's accomplishments are underrepresented in the nation's museums?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, there have been proposals to build museums devoted to both Latino and women's history in America. The National Museum of African American History and Culture recently opened. What advantages or disadvantages can you see in having museums focusing on one aspect of the population?

LESSON PLAN
Create a Women's History Museum

PROCESS:

  1. Instruct students to name as many famous women as they can. Tell them to make a list. Then have them categorize the women into groups. (i.e., sports, social activism, science, etc.)
  2. Give students time to conduct research so they can identify more women who fit into these groups. If you wish, challenge them to identify famous women who fit into other types of groups they hadn't thought of before.
  3. Encourage students to brainstorm ideas about how they could compile the information they've collected into a classroom museum dedicated to women's history. 
  4. Give students time to create their vision. Provide necessary supplies or have students bring items from home. When the museum is complete, invite other classes to visit. Issue "time tickets" to keep the event organized-just like a real museum does when it opens.

ASSESSMENT: 

As a class, create a survey to gauge visitor response to the classroom museum. Include questions related to individual exhibits as well as the overall organization of the museum. Have each visitor fill out a form. Analyze and discuss the results.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, identify famous women and categorize them into groups. Encourage students to share their ideas for a classroom museum. Then divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one category of women. Challenge them to create an accurate and interesting display that fits into the type of museum the class envisioned.

Grades 5-6:
As a class, identify famous women and categorize them into groups. Have students conduct research to identify more famous women who belong to these groups. Then have students brainstorm ideas for a classroom museum. If necessary, point out that there are different types of exhibits in a museum. Some resemble dioramas. Others are interactive. And some are just a series of panels on the wall. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one category of women to investigate. Instruct groups to select the type of exhibit they'd like to create. Then give them time to make their displays for the classroom museum. 

Grades 7-8: 
As a class, identify famous women and categorize them into groups. Have students conduct research to identify more famous women who belong to these groups as well as new categories they hadn't thought of before. Rejoin as a class to brainstorm ideas for a classroom museum. Tell students that the museum will have three wings and each wing will have a different theme. Encourage them to identify those themes and then sort the categories of women appropriately. Divide the class into pairs. Assign each pair one category of women. Give partners time to conduct additional research. Challenge them to create a compelling exhibit for the classroom museum. 

Grades 9-10:
As a class, identify famous women and categorize them into groups. Have students conduct research to identify more famous women who belong to these groups as well as new categories they hadn't thought of before. Rejoin as a class to brainstorm ideas for a women's history museum. Have students identify five overall themes they would like to feature and decide how the categories of women they identified should be sorted to support these themes. Then divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one theme. Utilizing a variety of display types-diorama, interactive or flat panels-challenge groups to create accurate and engaging exhibits for the classroom museum. 

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
These Four Black Women Inventors Reimagined the Technology of the Home
Read this Smithsonian article to learn why, by designating the realm of technology as “male,” we overlook key inventions that took place in the domestic sphere.

Women in Aviation and Space History
This online exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum serves as a “Gallery guide” to the history of flying women, from the pioneering days to the space age.

Women Breaking Musical Barriers: She Isn’t Supposed to Play That
This website from the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage traces the history and diversity of women in music through text, video recordings and audio recordings.

In Our Own Voice: Songs of American Indian Women
Very little is known and appreciated about American Indian women’s songs and voices, even among people who are familiar with American Indian music. This webpage from the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage traces the history of music performed by American Indian women. It includes film clips of live performances.

A Will of Their Own
This online exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery features influential women in the early days of the republic, from Abigail Adams to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The focus is on Judith Sargent Murray, a poet and essayist who published “On the Equality of the Sexes” in 1790.

Setting the Precedent: Four Women Who Excelled in Business
This virtual tour from the Smithsonian Archives introduces students to four exceptional American women who succeeded in business in the twentieth century. The website features biographical information, timelines, games and historical background for each of the women.
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