Women's History Guides

Elementary Grades

1)  "Maternal Oral History" Programming

Overnight or over several class periods to include student presentations.

The purpose of this unit on women’s history is to provide experiences and activities to increase students’ understanding of women’s history as it relates to his/her own family.

The students will be able to:

  1. Identify his/her family’s maternal history.
  2. Write the descriptions to sharpen writing skills.
  3. Present their findings to their classmates to sharpen oral communication skills.
  4. Discover how their family members have contributed to their local community, state, region, or the nation.
  5. Illustrate the woman they choose or bring in “show and tell” items to illustrate the person they are discussion. 
  6. Ask questions, relay learned information, improve art skills, and artifact collecting to illustrate how historians use unconventional methods to research women’s history.


  1. The student will interview their parents/guardians about their family’s maternal history.  For example, they can ask about the life of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or other family members.  They can ask about the historical ear, events, movements, and social trends that female family members have been involved in. 
  2. Students will collaborate in pairs during class time to compose a list of questions they would like to ask. 
  3. Students will write the questions down on paper.
  4. During the interview, the students should be encouraged to write down their interviewee’s responses, however parents/guardians may aid in writing down answers.
  5. Students will ask for historical “artifacts” that they can use for a class presentation (“show and tell”) that will help describe their interviewee’s history. 

2) "Maternal Heritage Share and Tell" Programming

As decided by the instructor.

The purpose of this unit on women’s history is to provide experiences and activities to increase students’ understanding of women’s history as it relates to his/her own family.

The students will be able to:

  1. Conduct an oral presentation.
  2. Demonstrate their understanding of women’s history.
  3. Research family history as it relates to women’s history in his/her family.
  4. Organize visual artifacts to illustrate the unconventional methodology that historians use when researching social history.  


  1. Students will gather pictures that represent the women in their family and the women’s life experiences from sources that are disposable such as newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. 
  2. Students can copy photographs to demonstrate the necessity to duplicate historical artifacts to conserve original collections.
  3. Students will organize their pictures into a collage and orally present their contents to their class as it relates to women in their family and how they have impacted their local community, region, or nation.
  4. Students should be encouraged to use artifacts as they relate to the person they are discussing in class.  The artifacts must be appropriate to the classroom environment (prior teacher approval may be necessary). 

3)  "Maternal Family Tree" Programming

One to two weeks (can coincide with other lessons). 

The purpose of this unit is for students to trace their maternal lineage and develop a better understanding of women in their family as it relates to United States or world history. 

The students will be able to:

  1. Effectively Communicate with their parents
  2. Demonstrate and practice writing skills
  3. Demonstrate their ability to present information orally (communicate).
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of diversity awareness.
  5. Illustrate the person they are describing.
  6. Create a family tree and understand the definition of genealogy.
  7. Demonstrate research skills and artistic skills.


  1. Students will ask their parents about their maternal lineage, parents should write the          information down if the student is very young, older students should be able to document the information they are given.
  2. If the student is first generation American, use this as an opportunity to show diversity in the classroom and that we are all Americans regardless of how long our ancestors have been here.
  3. Students should ask who is in their maternal family tree, when they were born, where they were born, during what historical era they lived (Civil War, WWI, Depression, WWII, the Sixties, Counter-Culture, etc.), and when they died-if it is relevant.
  4. Students should illustrate how they think their maternal family tree should look and assign each maternal member a unique branch in their illustration.
  5. Illustrations or images should reflect the person they are describing.
  6. Students should turn in their trees for display in the classroom during Women’s History Month.
The instructor may allow the students to present or share their family tree to the class.



Format for NWHM educational programming: http://www.ualr.edu/~arwomen/education.htm
Guides developed by NWHM Spring 2006 Intern Reagan Bussells