Women's History Guide: Middle School

Elementary or Middle School Grades

1)  "Women in the United States" Programming

One week or as much time as determined 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 student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate and develop their research skills, writing skills, and illustration/artistic skills.
  2. Demonstrate and develop their understanding of United States geography.
  3. Develop an understanding of the historical significance of each person within the context of their state and the nation.


  1. The instructor will assign or have student select a state or several states (should assign all fifty states, but can include U.S. territories if desired) to their students for research, if the class is small the instructor might consider assigning regions of the United States.
  2. Level of research determined by the instructor and contingent upon age group of the classroom, however artistic interpretation and imagination (since many students may have never been to the state they have been assigned) should be encouraged.
  3. Students will research as woman or women significant to their state, states, or region and create a short biography which states why the woman or women are significant to the state or region and also to the United States.
  4. Students should illustrate the women or women, photographs are an option if available for use to the student.
  5. Students should also include images relevant to the state or region of study.
  6. Students will design a map of the state, states, or region they have been assigned as a background for their illustration and biography.
  7. Students will turn in the assignment so the instructor can create a classroom display by placing the states together in geographic order so that they form the shape of the county including Alaska, Hawaii, and United States territories.
  8. Final product should enhance the classroom throughout Women’s History Month or longer.

2)  "Maternal Oral History" Programming
One Week

Students learn about their maternal family history

The student will be able to:

  1. Develop and demonstrate interview/questioning skills.
  2. Place people into historical context.
  3. Effectively communicate with their parents.
  4. Develop and demonstrate writing and research skills.
  5. Understand the definition genealogy.
  6. Illustrate the person they are describing.
  7. Research artifacts to illustrate the unconventional methodology that historians use when researching social history.


  1. The student will interview a woman in their family or whichever female family member (or guardian) is available and record her answers.
  2. Student should find out the person’s date of birth, place of birth, the era (such as Depression, WWII, Baby Boom, Counter-Culture, etc.) they grew up in, what significant historical experience they have had, and what they think the most significant event in United States women’s history is.
  3. Answers, illustrations, artifact (personal objects pertaining to the person discussed by the student), and photographs should be incorporated into a United States history timeline in the classroom.

3)  "Research Project" Programming

Three weeks to a month

Students will research women’s history throughout the United States.

The student will be able to:

  1. Develop and demonstrate research and writing skills.
  2. Organize information from several different research sources, including artifacts.
  3. Demonstrate and develop public speaking skills (oral presentation).
  4. Demonstrate and develop artistic interpretation skills.
  5. Research artifacts to illustrate the unconventional methodology that historians use when researching social history.


  1. The student will pick a woman from their state or a state of their choice (instructor may also assign area of research) and research her using as many sources as the instructor requires.
  2. Older students should incorporate their research area into the broader scheme of United States history.
  3. Students should be encouraged to search out and bring to class artifacts pertaining to their woman of interest.
  4. Students may turn in the paper (length decided by instructor) or the instructor may require an oral presentation (illustrations optional).



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