Primary Sources, Student Activities

Catharine Blaine: Seneca Falls and the Women’s Rights Movement in Washington State (Elementary School)

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
State Standards:
Washington state standards in Social Studies, Civics, Reading, Writing, and Art. Meets New York state’s Social Studies standards 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 5.1, and 5.3.


This activity examines the life of Catharine Paine Blaine, an attendee of the Seneca Falls Convention who traveled from Seneca Falls, New York to Washington Territory in the 1850s. Using everyday items that Catharine brought with her to the Pacific Northwest, your students will explore how eastern settlers brought both objects and ideas with them as they traveled.  Elementary school students will examine primary sources and make connections to their own experiences.  

Teacher Preparation

Prepare yourself by reading the material provided for you and your students throughout this lesson plan. You may also wish to incorporate some of this material as part of a larger unit on women's suffrage and westward expansion. In the introduction, it will be necessary to remind students that women have not always had the right to vote in the United States. You may wish to utilize the What is Suffrage? reading before using this lesson plan. Students will be mapping out the journeys of Catharine Paine Blaine and her husband, David, and discussing the distance between East and West Coasts. Take a United States map and post it on the classroom wall, using it to remind students of the geographic distance that isolated the Blaines from friends and family on the East Coast. 



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Last updated: October 8, 2015