NWHM This Isn't Right Lesson Plan

Content Area/Online Exhibit:This Isn't Right: Women Reform Leaders

Grade Level: Secondary Grades

Lesson Prepared By: Jessie Regunberg





This lesson will give students the opportunity to become familiar with several of the most well-known women in American history.  By studying the important work these women did to overcome various injustices, students will gain an understanding of the past and the reform movements that it took to make us a more equal country today.



Two class periods.




  • Students will learn about important historical figures who because they were women, may not have made it into the standard U.S. history curriculum.
  • Students will get to use their creativity to represent an important historical figure.




  • None




  • Computer Lab…access to http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/reform/index.html
    If a computer lab is not available, the teachers can print the Online Exhibit.  Please note that the Online Exhibit is very long -- double sided copying is encouraged.
  • Handout. [Available for download here].
  • Supplies for art project:  blank plates (paper, plastic, or glass), glue, hodge-podge, construction paper, paint pens, acrylics, paintbrushes, etc.
  • Optional:  food, table



Begin by introducing the subject.  Assign each student one of the women featured in This Isn’t Right.  Give students time to research their reform leader and examine the documents related to them in the Online Exhibit.  When students are ready, pass out the blank plates and the assignment sheets.  Give the students the rest of the class to design and create a plate about their reform leader.  Let the plates dry overnight.


For homework students are should write up a short blurb about their historical figure that will accompany their plate when displayed.


Your next class should be a “dinner party.”*  Students should come to class ready to present their assigned reform leader to their classmates.  If desired, bring in some food to make this dinner party more fun.  Give students time to walk around to the various table-settings to learn about the other women in This Isn’t Right.  Encourage students to ask each other questions.


(Note: Depending on your resources, you can make this as formal or informal as you want.  Desks are fine to display the plates.  However, if you have access to a bigger table, the symbolism of creating place-settings for these women may hit home more easily. )


*The concept for this lesson was derived from Judy Chicago’s important 1979 feminist art installation The Dinner Party, which, according to the artist, was an attempt to "end the ongoing cycle of omission in which women were written out of the historical record."










I-d Culture: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can compare and analyze societal patterns for preserving and transmitting culture while adapting to environmental or social change.


II-b Time, Continuity and Change: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and over time, so that the learner can identify and use key concepts such as chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity.


IV-e Individual Development and Identity: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity, so that the learner can examine the interactions of ethnic, national, or cultural influences in specific situations or events


V-f Individuals, Groups and Institutions: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions, so that the learner can identify and analyze examples of tensions between expressions of individuality and group or institutional efforts to promote social conformity


IX-g Global Connections: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of global connections and interdependence, so that the learner can describe and evaluate the role of international and multinational organizations in the global arena.





5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.


7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, as well as posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.


12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).