Just over 100 years ago, on August 26, 1920, Congress formally ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which ensured women the right to vote. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment, pushing it over the two-thirds majority state approval needed for ratification. The final vote in the Tennessee legislature came as a result of representative Harry T. Burn’s vote. Mr. Burn switched his selection from “no” to “yes” after a last-minute plea from his mother.
Final approval of constitutional amendments is rare. The first ten amendments were passed by the first session of Congress in 1791, meaning that only 27 new amendments have been added, including that session. That’s a tiny number compared to the total number introduced in Congress since that time— more than 11,000!
An excellent resource for teaching students about the Constitution is the Interactive Constitution (reviewed here). This non-partisan tool provides classroom resources and materials, discussion questions, and more from constitutional scholars. Each amendment includes an interpretation of the text written by two scholars with different perspectives on the content—one from the Federalist Society, the other from the American Constitution Society. The scholars share a joint statement outlining their areas of agreement, while the “Matters of Debate” section shares each of their personal views.
There are a variety of technology tools you can use to take advantage of the Interactive Constitution and enhance your instruction. Consider using the Triple E Framework as a guide to evaluate your implementation of technology in your lessons on the Constitution and the 19th Amendment. Learn more about the Triple E Framework in this TeachersFirst blog post from Ruth Okoye.
With the 19th Amendment in mind, here are some ideas for engaging, enhancing, and extending learning using the Interactive Constitution as a starting point.
Engaged learning takes students beyond staying on task and begins to lead them toward being motivated to learn more about the subject.
- Start with a schema activator to determine what students know about constitutional amendments, suffrage, or the right to vote. Answer Garden (reviewed here) is an excellent poll creation tool that creates a word cloud based on responses.
- Allow students time to explore the portion of the Interactive Constitution dedicated to the 19th Amendment. Be sure to also point students in the direction of the Google Arts and Culture 19th Amendment Exhibit that guides viewers through the long process of the fight for women’s voting rights.
This part of the framework focuses on guiding students toward developing a more sophisticated understanding of content by using tools that enhance learning in ways that would not be possible without technology.
- Flipgrid (reviewed here) is a video discussion tool that provides options for interactive and creative video responses. The topics below share ideas for starting discussions on suffrage. Challenge students to be creative in their answers using the tools found on Flipgrid, such as filters, the whiteboard, and stickers.
- The Interactive Constitution includes several video presentations. Use these videos and tools like Timelinely (reviewed here) and EDpuzzle (reviewed here) to create interactive video lessons that integrate quizzes, comments, and questions directly into videos.
Use technology to extend learning by helping students connect their knowledge to real-world situations and build skills they’ll use in everyday life.
- Ask students to become the storyteller and create interactive presentations with Genially (reviewed here). Genially offers a variety of options for creating presentations, games, infographics, videos, and more. Take advantage of their many options to allow students a choice in how to share what they know.
- Encourage students to interview grandparents or other older community members to find out what they know about women’s suffrage as a way of incorporating real-world learning into their understanding of the suffrage movement.
- Here are some examples of presentations created in Genially: ”Women Suffrage,” ”Moments of Women’s Suffrage Timeline,” and ”Women’s Votes Count.” Copy and modify these presentations, or use them as examples to share with students as inspiration for their projects.
- Learn more about Genially by watching ”Genial.ly in 120 Seconds.”
The Interactive Constitution and its many resources are an excellent way to engage students in learning about this important document. By incorporating the thoughtful use of technology, student learning becomes active and engaged instead of passive.
What technology tools do you use to engage and enhance instruction? Do you have a favorite activity to help students understand the Constitution? We always enjoy hearing your ideas in the comments.