Lesson Plan

Bad Romance – Women’s Suffrage

Alice Paul and Suffragists

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
State Standards:
State:  New York
Subject: Social Studies   
Grade Level: 6-12
State Standards:  1, 5
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations.


In this lesson, students will answer the following essential question:  What means and strategies did suffragists use to fight for women’s rights to vote? 


The teacher should have a good understanding of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and the National Women's Party, the 19th amendment to the Constitution, and the struggle for its ratification.


  1. Make sure AV computer is hooked up to the internet to play the music video. Allowing the video time to buffer ahead of time might help save time during the lesson.

  2. Make one copy per group of “Women’s Suffrage Background Information” packets.

  3. Make one copy per student of “Women’s Suffrage Investigation” packet.


Students will read the women's suffrage background information to complete their “Women's Suffrage Investigation” questions.

Download Women's Suffrage Background Information

Lesson Hook/Preview

  1. Ask the students to discuss or write the answer to the following question: What strategies have Americans used to fight for their rights in history?  Think 1700’s through today!   

  2. Explain to students that today they will be learning about the fight for women’s right to vote.

  3. Have your class watch the video “Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage” which can be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYQhRCs9IHM

  4. Then, have your class watch the video again. The second time, ask the students to make a list of the people, symbols, and locations they see in the video.

  5. After watching the video, share answers and make a class list on the board.

Note for teachers -- 

Significance of the rose in the video: The red rose was worn by anti-suffrage legislators and the yellow rose by pro-suffrage legislators in Tennessee, the state needed to help ratify the 19th amendment and finally enfranchise women. It appeared that the vote would be close or even fail, until one young legislator, Mr. Harry Burn, switched his vote from "no" to "yes‟ at the last minute. Angry anti-suffrage legislators physically attacked him inside the Tennessee Capitol building, and he had to climb out the window to escape. When asked to explain why he had switched his vote at the last minute, he explained that he had received a telegram from his mother earlier that day, urging him to “do the right thing” and vote yes for enfranchising women!

The rest is history.  


  1. Put students into small groups of 2 or 3. Give each student a copy of the “Women’s Suffrage Investigation” questions and each group a copy of “Women’s Suffrage Background Information.”

  1. After students complete their research, ask the students to watch “Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage” for a third time. This time, ask students to highlight in their “Women’s Suffrage Investigation” questions any people, events, or images that are in both the questions and the video.

  1. Lastly, ask the students to share what connections they see between the women’s rights movement and strategies and that of other movement’s they’ve learned about: American Revolution, Emancipation, and Civil Rights.   


  1. Vote – To choose government officials or express opinions through a ballot

  2. Suffrage – The right to vote

  3. 19th Amendment to the US Constitution – The amendment that gave women the right to vote

  4. Protest – A statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something

Assessment Materials

Data Based Question

Students will analyze the political cartoons to demonstrate knowledge of the women’s suffrage movement.

Look at the anti suffrage posters and answer the following questions in the
form of a one or two paragraph essay.

What is the message being sent by these images?
Who were the artists appealing to?
Why would these be shocking images for the time? ( 1910s)
What connection can you make between the video (Bad Romance) and these

Bad Romance DBQ

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

  1. Create mixed-ability groups to assist with research.

  2. Read all text out loud as a group prior to answering questions.

Enrichment Activities

  1. Ask students to create their own political cartoons – one in favor of women’s suffrage and one against women’s suffrage.

  2. Ask students to create their own music videos on the topic of women’s suffrage.

Contact Information

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Last updated: May 21, 2015