Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Girl Power

Melissa Aldridge


During a unit on the Renaissance, the class uses notes obtained through previous research to create a mobile that illustrates the contributions of a Renaissance woman and explains how these accomplishments influenced her society.


The student knows significant historical leaders who shaped the development of early cultures (e.g., military, political, and religious leaders in various civilizations).

The student understands the historical events that have shaped the development of cultures throughout the world.


-Construction paper (yellow or white works well)
-Wire coat hangers
-Hole puncher
-Colored pencils


1. Create a mobile to be used as a model for the class.
2. Gather all materials for mobiles.
3. Find a costume and research a character for the motivational entrance described in the Procedures section (optional).


This lesson takes place after students have completed research on women from the Renaissance. This research can be completed in small groups, with each group selecting one woman to study. Suggestions for names are included below.

1. For a motivational entrance, dress as one of the Renaissance women that the class has researched during the Renaissance Unit. Students ask questions about the person while the teacher responds with yes or no until the identity is discovered.

2. Show the class a sample mobile containing a title, descriptive caption, and segments placed sequentially underneath. These segments consist of five specific events in the Renaissance woman's life. Each has an illustration of the event and a paragraph focusing on the effect that this event had on Renaissance culture. Students need to use their notes from previous research on Renaissance women.

Examples of Renaissance women researched:
Joan of Arc
Catherine de Medici
Queen Isabella
Artemisia Gentiloschi
Mary Tudor
Elizabeth I
Mary Stuart

3. The students meet with their original research group. Each group consists of 3-5 students. Pass out all necessary materials to the groups. (See Materials list.)

4. First, ask students to create a decorative title for their mobile using either yellow or white construction paper. Beneath the title have them write a descriptive caption or a fitting motto for the Renaissance woman.

5. Next, students decide within their group which parts of their research are important and that they want to include in their project. They divide the material into sections and divide these among the members of the group. Then the students cut out five shapes to be used as the segments of the mobile. Explain that each segment will represent an event or time in the life of their Renaissance woman. On one side they draw an illustration of the event and decorate and/or color. Students turn the segments over to the opposite side or back side and write a paragraph explaining how the event influenced the culture of the time period. Each student has at least one segment to work on independently.

6. When the segments are complete, the group arranges them sequentially from top to bottom. They connect shapes or segments to string using tape and attach to the coat hanger.

7. Each group elects a spokesperson to share the findings with the class. Check for student understanding of the effect that Renaissance women have had on their culture by having a question and answer session for each group.

8. Display mobiles around the classroom for further viewing.


In designing a mobile, the student creates a title and a caption, analyzes information, selects the most important events in the life of the Renaissance woman, and illustrates these events showing the effect they had on her culture. Check these tasks for accuracy to provide evidence that the student -knows significant historical leaders who shaped the development of early cultures.

Assess the students' written paragraphs to determine whether or not they -understand the historical events that have shaped the development of cultures throughout the world.

Use the following rubric for assessing paragraphs:

3--insightful, full understanding
2--adequate understanding
1--limited understanding


Girl Power is part of a Renaissance Unit and should be assigned after a foundation has been well established in prior lessons.

Additional/Alternate Assessment:
Students can take notes on the presentations and then write a summary of what they have learned about the impact of the Renaissance women on the culture of the period.
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