This quote from Gerda Lerner, a pioneer in the academic field of women’s history, reflects the fact that women’s history was essentially an unknown topic in K-12 schools as recently as fifty years ago. That began to change when the first US Women’s History Week was celebrated in 1980 and was expanded into Women’s History Month by Congress in 1987.
Now, Women’s History Month is a wonderful reminder to help our students explore and understand the wide-ranging, vital contributions made by diverse female Americans throughout our country’s past. Learning about how brave women in history overcame obstacles and sought change can also help our students as they work towards a future that is free of gender inequality. We’ve gathered a collection of interactive resources, lesson plans, and virtual field trip experiences below to inspire your students.
All About Women’s History Month: Background, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, and more!
Visit https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ and explore the “For Teachers” tab for an incredible collection of lesson plans for all ages about important women in history, business, politics, civil rights, STEM, and the arts.
Check out the National Women’s History Alliance, particularly the “Education Connection” section under the “Women’s History All Year” tab for lesson plans and resource collections. Learn more about the 2022 theme, “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.”
My Hero: Women’s History Month is an engaging site with biographies–written by students!–about artists, scientists, authors, educators, and other women who have made a difference.
Recognize and learn about important transgender women with “6 Transgender Women You Need to Celebrate” and “5 Amazing Trans Women You Didn’t Learn About in History Class.” For younger children, explore the resources from PBS, “Exploring Gender Identity and Expression with Children.”
The National Women’s History Museum offers a wealth of resources for students and educators, including an extensive selection of biographies of important women in history and today! They also offer detailed information and hundreds of lesson plans on a wide variety of topics in women’s history, including the women’s suffrage movement, civil rights, breaking barriers, and much more. Many lessons include videos, primary sources to explore, and connections to common core standards.
“10 of Our Favorite Women’s History Month Activities” from We Are Teachers is a fantastic collection of active learning activities for elementary students.
Virtual Field Trip Ideas
Take your secondary students on a virtual tour of the National Archives Museum’s current exhibit, “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote” to learn more about the women’s suffrage movement.
Explore Where Women Made History, from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to visit and learn about over 1,000 key locations in women’s history around the nation.
Art teachers can share lessons and virtual gallery tours from the National Museum of Women in the Arts for interactive experiences learning about female artists.
Watch and Learn
Watch the powerful documentary series from PBS, Unladylike 2020: The Changemakers, a one-hour special and 26 short digital films about “courageous, little-known and diverse female trailblazers from the turn of the 20th century.” PBS offers Lesson Plans for middle and high school students for use with the documentaries.
Women in Sports
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Title IX legislation for gender equity in sports, and equal pay is a timely topic, as “The US women’s soccer team reaches an equal pay settlement” (from NPR). Engage your students with lessons about women and equality in sports with this lesson Plan from Middle Level Learning, “Teaching About Female Sports Icons and Gender Equity” or this lesson Plan from the Anti-Defamation League, “Soccer, Salaries, and Sexism.”
Finally, enjoy this collection of words of wisdom, “16 Quotes for Women’s History Month to Inspire You and Your kids.” Whatever age or content area you teach, we hope you found ideas for incorporating women’s history into your classroom not just during Women’s History Month, but all year-round. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do!