My final project is to create a project that teaches students how to think historically by examining the Women’s Suffrage Movement of the U.S. from 1900-1920, the final period leading to the 19th amendment to the Constitution. The project aims to train students to research like a historian, such as the skills to critically examine primary sources, counter argue a well-accepted conclusion and use multiple ways to present their findings. The project is made up of five modules.
- In the first module, the students will be guided to think about what is history, how they learned history before, in what new ways they think they can learn and research history better. It’s an open discussion on history learning and teaching. The next part is readings on historical thinking. Students will read the journal articles and watch videos to understand what historical thinking is and why it’s important. The third part is the basic skills to examine a primary source such as how to read metadata, how to judge if a source(such as a website) is reliable and what are secondary and primary sources. The students will be given the information of major online sources such as the national archives, digital public history of America.
- The second module will be the history of U.S. women’s suffrage from 1900-1920. There will be texts, videos, posters, pictures, news reports, speeches etc to give students an idea of the period. The sources will cover suffragists and those who opposed to the movement. The sources are therefore not selected randomly but on purpose because the scale of the module needs to keep students read all possible sides of the movement but at the same time not wear them out.
- The third module is a hands-on experience to do the historical thinking. I will use a women’s suffragist cartoon and Jane Addam’s article “why should women vote” as the case study to show how to think historically. Students will not see these two videos but I will upload the images and the article online. Students will answer the questions asked about the cartoon and the articles. These questions will guide students to think historically. Then I will list some students’ answers for the group discussion. In the discussion, the class and the instructor will examine these answers, the difference and the reasons. I hope through this group activity, students will see what others think of the questions, what are their strong points and what they miss. After the discussion, the students should have an idea of what historical thinking is and how to examine a primary source.
- In the fourth module, the students will have the freedom to choose a topic in the period (1900-1920) and practice historical thinking. Students can do their own research or make use of the information in the last module. For the assignment, they can create poster of women’s suffrage or the one that is against it, they can write a letter in voice of a suffragist or anti-suffragist, they can write down a view point or reflection on one picture, event or person in the women’s suffrage, if they don’t write, they can present in a video lecturing on the topic, they can even create and act in a play. They can also examine a secondary source, why they agree or don’t agree with it. No matter what form they choose, they need show their interpretation and the historical evidence that supports it.
- The last module is peer reviewing. I hope this will also be a brainstorm in the student’s project. The peers may provide more good ideas to each other’s project, share resources and make suggestions.
- final project. Students will submit their final project two weeks after the peer review.
I will select sources for module three from the websites below: