Graphic Organizer

Student Expectations:

  • Students will identify which groups of people did not originally have the right to vote.
  • Students will identify which groups of people eventually got the right to vote through amendments to the Constitution.

Vocabulary and Definitions:

right: something due to an individual by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.

Amendment: a change made by correction, addition, or deletion

Lesson Plan:

All Grades:

  1. If possible, before the lesson, print the images in the related media or find similar images to print. If not, project the images from your computer or create large word cards with the names of the groups represented by the pictures.
  2. Ask the students who they think gets to vote in the United States.
  3. Explain to the students that you are going to show them some pictures. Instruct them to give a thumbs-up if they think the person in the picture (or on the card) is eligible to vote in the U.S. and give a thumbs-down if they think that the person is not eligible.
  4. Show students the images one at a time. Allow them to respond with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Share the correct answer after the students have voted on each picture.
  5. On the board, draw two columns. Label one “Yes” and the other “No.” Create a word bank of people you can use to move to the correct column: “Yes” for being able to vote and “No” for not being able to vote.
    1.  White woman (yes)
    2.  African American man (yes)
    3.  An elderly woman (yes)
    4.  Teens in class (no)
    5.  American Indian dancer (yes)
    6.  18- year- old graduate (yes)
    7.  White farmer (yes)
    8.  Children (no)
    9.  African American woman (yes)
    10.  An elderly man (yes)
  6. Have a short class discussion about who has the right to vote in America today.

First and Second Grade:

  1. After sorting the pictures, write “1789” above the two columns. Then, move all of the pictures or cards except those for the white farmer and the elderly white man to the “No” column. Clarify that the Constitution was written in 1789. Pose the following questions for discussion:
    1. Who was allowed to vote at that time? (If necessary, have them look at the board for help.)
    2. Do you think that is fair? Why or why not?
    3. What do you think the country should do about its policy on voting rights?
  2. Have one student come to the front of the classroom and hold up a word strip that says, “Amendment 15.” Explain that an amendment is a change made to the Constitution. Have another student stand next to the “Amendment 15” student and hold a word strip that says “1870.” Have a third student stand next to the other two and hold the picture or card for the African American man. Explain that this amendment to the Constitution said that African American men could vote. Ask the student holding the picture to put it in the “Yes” column.
  3. Follow the procedure above with five students holding the “Amendment 19” and “1920” word strips and the pictures or cards for the African American woman, the white woman, and the elderly woman. Then, pose the following questions for discussion:
    1. Who still can’t vote?
    2. Are the voting laws fair yet? Why or why not?
  4. Repeat the exercise with three students holding the “State Laws” and “1962” word strips and the American Indian picture or card. Explain that each state could decide some of its voting laws. Many states didn’t want American Indians to vote. It took a long time for American Indians to receive the right to vote in all states.
  5. Repeat the exercise with three students holding the “Amendment 26” and “1971” word strips and the 18-year-old graduate picture or card. Explain that the Constitution originally said that people had to be at least 21 years old to vote. However, in 1971, the 26th Amendment allowed 18-year-olds to vote. Have a class discussion about the following questions:
    1. Do any of you have family members who are around 18 years old?
    2. Do you think that it is good that they can vote? Why or why not?
  6. Now that the appropriate pictures have been moved to the “Yes” column, direct the students’ attention to it. Pose the following questions for discussion:
    1. Does this look more fair and equal? Why or why not?
    2. Who can vote now?

Third Grade:

  1. After sorting the pictures, write “1789” above the two columns. Explain to the students that the rules about who could vote were very different when the Constitution was created in 1789. Then, move all of the pictures or cards except those for the white farmer and older white man to the “No” column. Explain that when the Constitution was written, only white male landowners who were at least 21 years old were allowed to vote in elections. Have the students think about and discuss this situation.
  2. Explain that the writers of the Constitution didn’t know what would happen in the future, so they established a method to change the document. These changes to the Constitution are called amendments. Congress can pass an amendment if three-fourths of its members vote in favor of it. Then, voters throughout the United States get to decide about the amendment. If the majority of people vote in favor of the amendment in two-thirds of the states, the amendment passes and becomes part of the Constitution.
  3. Explain that the Constitution has been amended 27 times. Five of these amendments have changed voting rights so that more people are able to vote today.
  4. Tell the students that they are now going to look at the amendments that changed voting rights in U.S. history.
  5. At the top of the “Yes” column, write “Amendment 15: 1870.” Read the amendment out loud to the students: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Then, move the picture or card for the African American man to the “Yes” column. Pose the following questions to gather students’ responses:
    1. At the time this amendment was passed, who had the right to vote? (people of any race)
    2. Who didn’t have the right to vote?
  6. Write “Amendment 19: 1920” on the “Yes” column. Read the amendment out loud to the students: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Then, move the picture or card for all of the adult women to the “Yes” column. Pose the following questions to gather students’ responses:
    1. Who gained the right to vote with this amendment? (women)
    2. Who still wasn’t allowed to vote?
  7. Explain that each state could decide some of its voting laws. Many states didn’t want American Indians to vote. They made rules to keep American Indians from voting. However, gradually, that began to change. Finally, by 1962, every state allowed American Indians to vote. Write “American Indians: 1962” in the “Yes” column, and move the picture or card to it.
  8. Explain that the Constitution originally said that people had to be at least 21 years old to vote. Then, there were wars in which 18-year-old soldiers were sent to fight. Finally, the government decided that if 18- year- olds were old enough to fight, they were old enough to vote. Write “Amendment 26: 1971” in the “Yes” column and move the picture or card for the 18-year-old graduate to it.
  9. Have a class discussion about the following questions:
    1. Who is still in the “No” column?
    2. How do you feel about that?
  10. Ask the students to discuss how long it took for some American citizens to get the right to vote and how they feel about what they have learned.

Weekly Assessment:

First Grade: Copy this sentence: “Citizens who are 18 years or older can vote.”

Second Grade: Copy this sentence and fill in the blanks with the correct information: “Citizens who are __________ years or older can __________.”

Third Grade: Write two sentences about the things that you learned from this lesson.

Tags:

©2022 Studies Weekly Teacher Tools

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?