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7th Grade Inquiry Design Model (IDM) Lesson Plan: Why is the Right to Vote Important

7th grade, Women's Suffrage

Inquiry Design Model (IDM) Lesson Plan: Why is the Right to Vote Important? 

Download IDM: PDF | WORD 

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF ALL THE RESOURCES AND MATERIALS IN THIS UNIT

 

Women of Tacoma LeafletCompelling Question

Why is the right to vote important? Why did women fight for and win the right to vote in Washington state? What happened when they did?

 

Standards and Practices

    • C1.6-8.2 Explain the structure of and key ideals set forth in fundamental documents, including the Washington state constitution and tribal treaties with the United States government.
    • C2.6-8. 2 Distinguish the structure, organization, powers, and limits of government at the local, state, and tribal levels.
    • C4.6-8.2 Describe the relationship between the actions of people in Washington state and the ideals outlined in the Washington state constitution.
    • C4.6-8.3 Employ strategies for civic involvement that address a state or local issue.
    • SSS4.6-8.2 Use appropriate format to cite sources within an essay, presentation, and reference page.
 
 

Staging the Question

Spend a few moments with your students talking about what voting means to them. 

Consider the following points in your discussion: What do we vote for? Who can vote in the United States today? (In Washington state, you must be a citizen, at least 18 years old. If someone committed a serious crime, called a felony, they are allowed to vote once they are not in prison or community custody. However, some other states do not allow people who did these crimes to vote. ) 

Why would you want to vote? Alternately, you might wish to ask them why they think people do not vote.

 

OhYouSuffragetteSupporting Question 1: What is suffrage?

Formative Performance Task

Play game “Who gets to vote” from the Washington State Legislature. Have students journal and share on how they felt when they were assigned to a particular group.

Assign students to read the first section of the essay: “What is Suffrage? 7th Grade Level” from the Washington State Historical Society. Ask students to find the main idea about the importance of suffrage.

Featured Sources

 
 

Supporting Question 2: How has the right to vote changed over time in the U.S.?

Formative Performance Task

Based on the essay “What is Suffrage, 4th Grade Level,” make a timeline of who could vote in the United States at different times. Break students up into small groups and give each one an event from the essay. You may want to cut up these events into strips and give one to each small group. Have students present out on their events and form a physical timeline around the classroom. Then ask them to contribute to their own personal timelines.

Featured Sources

7th-grade-level versions of:

    • “What is Suffrage?” PDF | Word (Source: WSHS)
    • “Timeline Template, Why is the right to vote important” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
 
 

EmmaSmithDeVoeSupporting Question 3: Who fought for suffrage?

Formative Performance Task 

Break students up into groups of four. Give each student a biography of one of the Washington State suffragists, so that each group member has a different biography. Ask them to analyze that biography using the supporting graphic organizer. Then share out on each suffragist, with students taking notes on other suffragists in the second half of the graphic organizer.

Featured Sources

7th-grade-level versions of:

    • “Nettie Asberry" PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
    • “Susie Revels Cayton” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
    • “Emma Smith DeVoe” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
    • “May Arkwright Hutton” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
    • “Graphic Organizer, Biographies of Suffragists” PDF | Word (Source: WSHS)
 
 

Supporting Question 4: How did getting the right to vote affect the political responsibilities and rights of women? 

Formative Performance Task 

Ask students to add to the timelines they created in the second formative performance task. Break students up into small groups and give each one an event from the essay “Rights Won, Rights Used” and “Washington Women in Politics.” You may want to cut up these events into strips and give one to each small group. Have students present out on their events and form a physical timeline around the classroom. Then ask them to contribute to their own personal timelines. 

Featured Sources 

7th-grade-level versions of:

    • “Rights Won, Right Used” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
    • “Washington Women in Politics” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
    • “Timeline Template, Why is the right to vote important” PDFWord (Source: WSHS)
 
 

Summative Performance Task 

Argument 

Why did women fight for the right to vote? What does that tell you about why the right to vote is important? Create a pamphlet telling the story of women’s fight for suffrage in Washington and connecting it to why voting is important today.

Extension 

Should the vote be extended to include different groups today? For example, should 16 year olds be able to vote? Use what you found about women’s fight for suffrage to support your argument. Create a pamphlet or political cartoon making your case for your argument. Create a classroom bulletin board and invite students to bring in newspaper articles or magazine clippings that they feel have to do with the right to vote or other issues that you are studying in your classroom. Use these as part of a free write or journaling exercise.

Taking Informed Action 

Students send/mail their pamphlets to the Washington State Secretary of State. Students should research how/where to send these and should write an introductory email/note explaining the project. As a class, research voter registration in Washington state. What do people need to do to register to vote here? Do students have suggestions for this process?