Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Debating Women's Rights

Melissa Aldridge


Students debate the issue of -Women's Rights- and compare women of the past to the women of the present.


The student knows significant historical leaders who have influenced the course of events in Eastern and Western civilizations since the Renaissance.

The student understands the history of the rights, liberties, and obligations of citizenship in the United States.

The student understands that citizenship is legally recognized full membership in a self-governing community that confers equal rights under the law; is not dependent on inherited, involuntary groupings; and confers certain rights and privileges (e.g., the right to vote, to hold public office, and to serve on juries).


-Chart paper


1. Before paragraphs are assigned--show examples.
2. Gather materials.
3. Explain procedures ahead of time.


(This activity will follow instruction on Women's Rights and individuals such as Susan B. Anthony who lobbied for these rights).

1. Have students write a paragraph about their view on -Women's Rights.- Ask them to state reasons for their point of view. (This can be a homework assignment.)

2. Divide the class into two sides- -one for and one against- - equal rights for women (for debating purposes). If one side is drastically unequal, ask some students to volunteer to represent the alternate side.

3. Instruct each side to elect a recorder to record and post the group's examples and statements on chart paper. Allow ten minutes on the timer for teams to record seven reasons to represent the team's opinions.

4. Allow each team to appoint a speaker to read the team's statements to the class.

5. Next, the teacher begins the debate by reading the first comment written by whichever team is to begin. Choosing a number (one through ten) is a good way to decide which team will go first.

6. The speaker from the first team will explain the statement- -always using a microphone voice.

7. The teacher will choose a student from the second team with his or her hand raised to respond to the statement. Remember to ask students to keep their comments brief and to focus on the statement. Debating will continue, one person at a time, until the timer goes off. Time set per statement made is optional.

8. When the timer goes off, the teacher will tell how many tally marks were given to each team and which team won the point for this particular statement. The teacher will use tally marks to signify an outstanding point made. These will be recorded by the teacher on chart paper for all to see.

9. Continue with the second team or opposite side reading their first statement and so on.

10. When a team has earned five points, the debate is over and a winner is announced.


Students' written paragraphs will be assessed for their -understandings of the history of the rights of citizenship in the United States- in reference to women's rights.
During the debate, listen for students to compare examples of rights that modern women enjoy versus women of the past, thanks in part, to historical figures such as Susan B. Anthony.

Web Links

Web supplement for Debating Women's Rights
Susan B. Anthony

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