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The Equal Rights Amendment and Mississippi lesson plan

OVERVIEW

The ERA was written and proposed in 1923 by Alice Paul, suffragist leader and founder of the National Woman’s Party. She and the National Woman’s Party considered the proposed ERA amendment to be the next step after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Between 1923 and 1972, the ERA was introduced into every session of the U.S. Congress and finally gained approval in 1972. After reaching the time limit for ratification on June 30, 1982, the ERA had only been ratified by 35 states, leaving it three states short of the 38 required for ratification. The state of Mississippi was one of the states that failed to approve the ERA.

CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies: 3 and 4.

TEACHING LEVELS

Grades 9 through 12.

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT

Mississippi History Now article

Blank paper for timelines and charts

Pencil/pen

Computer and internet access for research

Notebook paper for speeches and songs

Lyrics and recording of the Helen Reddy song, “I Am Woman”

OBJECTIVES

Students will:

Construct a timeline that outlines the history of the Equal Rights Amendment on a national and state level.

Determine the arguments for and against the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Compose a speech about the Equal Rights Amendment.

Compose a song about the Equal Rights Amendment.

OPENING THE LESSON

The teacher will explain to the class that throughout history, music has often been used to make political statements. The teacher will tell the class they are about to listen to a song that was recorded and released in 1972. The teacher will distribute copies of the lyrics to Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” as well as play the song for the class. After listening to the song, the teacher will ask for student volunteers to speculate on the message of the song as well as the political statement it conveys. The teacher will ask the students to speculate on why the song may have been released in 1972. The teacher can record the student responses on an overhead or chalkboard. The teacher should direct the discussion to an introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment and the social environment of the 1970s.

 
The Equal Rights Amendment
 

Arguments for ERA

Arguments Against ERA

 

 

 

 

 

DEVELOPING THE LESSON

1.

Students will be instructed to use the Mississippi History Now article in order to construct a timeline concerning the history of the Equal Rights Amendment. As the students read the article, they should place key events and the dates they occurred on the timeline. Allow the students to work alone or with a partner for this portion of the lesson.

2.

The teacher will ask the students questions about the events placed on their timelines.

3.

Students should be allowed to work in a small group to construct a chart which lists the arguments for and against the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

4.

Based upon the information recorded on the chart, have each student in each group write a speech that might have been delivered in one of the chambers of the Mississippi Legislature in January 1973. The teacher could allow each group to choose whether they will be for or against the Equal Rights Amendment or the teacher can assign the groups their position. Allow each member in the student group to read his or her paragraph to their group members. Have each group choose one of the paragraphs to be read to the class. The speeches can be delivered in the format of a debate. The following Web sites can also provide additional research for the student speeches.

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/faq.htm

http://www.eagleforum.org/era

CLOSING THE LESSON

Allow the student groups to compose a song that might have been produced about the Equal Rights Amendment. Allow the student groups to perform the songs.

ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING

1.

Timelines

2.

Charts

3.

Speeches

4.

Songs

5.

Class participation

EXTENDING THE LESSON

1.

Allow the students to conduct an oral history with family members or other adults concerning the Equal Rights Amendment or the changes experienced by women in the past thirty years.

2.

Allow students to analyze the roles of men and women throughout the various periods of history. The students could create a dramatization about their research.

3.

Allow students to create a crossword puzzle about the Equal Rights Amendment. National and state leaders involved in the debate could be a source of items included in the puzzle.

4.

Allow students to create a television commercial that might have been aired concerning the Equal Rights Amendment.

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