Women’s History Month Activities for Your K-12 Students
The month of March is a time to reflect on, celebrate, and recognize women who have made great strides in the world. The honorary observance of National Women’s History Month in March was declared in 1987 by the U.S. Congress, and we are excited for the opportunity to take an in-depth look at women’s history, issues, and continued work towards recognition and rights in the world we know today.
Try these activities in your classroom to learn more about pioneering women, movements, and lessons from the past and the present.
Breaking Down Barriers: Making “Herstory”
Grades Pre-K-2 or Grades 3-5
Have students form an understanding of women who broke down barriers of their time.
Facilitate active reading and critical thinking.
Learn about women throughout history who have done something that others might not have accepted. For emerging readers, choose different women to learn about throughout the month of March and read about them together as a class. Annotate the articles with your class as you read. Highlight new vocabulary, call out the evidence that helps to answer the main questions, and add class comments, connections, and summaries. For more advanced readers, have them choose a woman to read about on their own. They should also use your annotation prompts while reading.
Have students answer these questions:
• What did this woman do that was groundbreaking for her time?
• How did others view her during that time? Did they appreciate her or were some of them upset? If some were upset, why?
• What challenges did she face?
• What surprised you about her life, background, or family?
Create a board for the classroom for the month of March and put images and important facts around the featured women on the board. At the end of Women’s History Month, review all of the women you’ve learned about and have students draw a picture of or write a letter to the woman they’d most like to have lunch with. Have them share their reasons with the class.
Try this activity with LaunchPacks, which includes annotation tools, such as digital highlighting and note-taking. If you don’t already subscribe to LaunchPacks, start your free 60-day access today and use it for all of Women’s History Month.
Create a New National Holiday
Grades 3-5 or Grades 6-8
If Congress were to add a national holiday that honored the contributions of one woman, whom should it be? Have each student choose a woman to research and then make the case for why she should be honored with a national holiday.
This activity promotes active reading and inquiry-based learning.
Activity, Part 1:
Break students up into small groups. Have students work together to do preliminary research to narrow down a shortlist of women who have made major contributions to society. Then, have each person in the group choose a different woman from that list to research more thoroughly.
As they learn about their chosen female leader, have them answer the following questions:
• What was her most significant achievement?
• What were her biggest challenges?
• Whose lives did she impact the most?
• Give five reasons why she should be honored with a national holiday.
Activity, Part 2:
Have students return to their groups and share their findings. In each group, have the students collectively nominate one woman to present to “Congress” (i.e., the class) on why she deserves a national holiday in her honor.
In each group, have the students answer these questions and create their presentation to Congress.
• What would be the name of the holiday?
• What date will your holiday be and why?
• How will the United States celebrate this holiday?
• How would you promote this holiday to the country? Create a flyer for the first celebration.
• Why is she the woman who should be honored above all others?
Women’s Suffrage: Reader’s Theater
Grades 6-8 or Grades 9-12
Have students analyze individuals who were involved in the women’s suffrage movement and then create a short play using anecdotes, quotes, images, and biographical information.
This activity promotes critical thinking and increases comprehension by engaging students in a collaborative performance.
Have small groups of students research four individuals from the women’s suffrage movement during the late 1800s. During their research, students should collect information about the events, ideas, and contributions each person was involved with in relation to the movement.
Students should form small groups. Using the information they found, students should create a play to show what they learned, using quotes, anecdotes, visual displays, and images to convey their findings.
• Invite younger classes to watch these performances.
• Expand this activity to women beyond the suffrage movement or to men who played a role either for or against women’s suffrage.
We’ve shared suggested resources for these activities from Britannica LaunchPacks: Social Studies. If you don’t already have access, you can get free access now to 1,600 curriculum-relevant subject Packs that include organized supplemental resources, such as informational text with annotation capabilities, media, timelines, maps, and primary sources. Give it a try, or use these strategies with your own classroom resources!