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Women’s History Month Lessons

Teaching Women's History Month in middle school does not need to be challenging. Check out the resources mentioned in this blog post.

Teaching Women’s History Month in middle school does not need to be challenging. Check out the resources mentioned in this blog post.  

This blog post contains affiliate links that are of no cost to the reader. If you make a purchase through the provided links, this blog will receive a small commission to help with the financial costs of maintaining the site.

What is Women’s History Month? Why is it Important? 

While the fight for the equality of women started as early as the 1900s, Women’s History Month was originally a week-long celebration in Sonoma County, California. It was championed by Austrian-born American historical and women’s history author Gerda Lerner in 1978. 

As women had long since been under-recognized for their contributions to society, the week was meant to recognize and celebrate women’s contributions to history, society, and culture. In 1987, March was officially designated to be known as Women’s History Month in the United States. 

While women’s contributions should be recognized 365 days a year, the focus of Women’s History Month is on the girls and women, past and present, who fought and continue to fight for the equality of women, continuously striving to fight the status quo and improve the lives of women.

Women’s History Month is celebrated every March in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. International Women’s Day falls on March 8th in Canada; In 1992, the Government of Canada designated October as Women’s History Month. 

How Can I Celebrate Women’s History Month? 

Read Books

Reading books by female authors is a great way to celebrate women in history in the classroom. Your school library or local library should have a display of female-authored books and/or biographies on famous women in history. Female authors aren’t the only way to discover women in the publishing world; there are also books illustrated by women, published by women, and narrated by women. 

Other ways to celebrate include

  • Listening to music by female musicians and bands. Students could compile a list of their female musicians and bands for the class. 
  • Students could research women in their family history. 
  • Research influential women in your community or country who have made contributions to society. 
  • Visit the online National Women’s History Museum – find something your class might be interested in.
  • View the timeline of the history of women in Canada to see famous and influential women in Canadian history. 
  • Visit the Women of Impact in Canada page on the Government of Canada’s website to get an in-depth look at famous women in Canadian history. This includes women in STEM, human rights, arts, politics, and trailblazers. It also includes an interactive map and a learning toolkit. 
  • Show some videos related to Women’s History Month in your classroom
  • Learn about the “pink tax” – an unofficial tax placed on women’s personal care products.

“Pink Tax” Lesson

Have you ever heard of the “pink tax”?

This term refers to how products marketed toward women generally cost significantly more than those that are marketed to men. Did you know items are priced differently based on their genre target market?

Help your students develop a deeper understanding of media literacy and consumer awareness with this lesson on how consumer product prices are different for men and women. This lesson also shows students the different techniques marketers use to get consumers to purchase products.

Find out more about gender-based pricing and the “pink tax” in this lesson – Media Literacy: Consumer Awareness Lesson – Gender Price Differences.

Women’s History Month Videos

Use these videos with your students to help them develop their knowledge of Women’s History Month.

How To Use Women’s History Month Books in the Classroom

  1. Stations – Gather a few of the books mentioned in this blog post (or others you have in your collection) and have students rotate through each station and complete a graphic organizer about their learning. Here are some examples of graphic organizers – Set 1 or Set 2
  2. Read Alouds – Incorporate these books into your read-aloud schedule not just for March but throughout the year. 
  3. Non-Fiction Event Study – Look at the different events covered by these books. Have students read through some picture books and then create a presentation about the real-life event(s) that inspired the novel to share with their peers. Use this Non-Fiction Book Report to have students demonstrate their learning. 
  4. Biography Study – Have students select an important and/or influential person to learn about. Then have them complete this Biography Symbolism Assignment to showcase their learning to the class. Students will read a biography, memoir, or autobiography and then create a life map outlining the important events in their chosen person’s life. After creating the life map students will provide a written explanation and oral presentation of their life map.

Women’s History Month Books

I have linked the Women’s History Month books to Amazon, but you can also look for them at your local library or look for them at a female-owned bookstore.

Picture Books

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women And The Space Race

This illustrated picture book is an overview of the four female African-American mathematicians at NASA and how they worked in the shadows, providing calculations for men to go into space, ultimately overcoming racial and gender barriers and proving that women, too, can work in a challenging STEM-based career.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

Learn more about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life as she grew up in a time when women were not expected to do big things in life. Not satisfied with the conventional role for women in society, Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to become more and pave the path for women to have careers. 

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight For Desegregation 

This book tells the story of Sylvia Mendez and her family’s fight to end segregated education in California in the 1940s after Sylvia was denied enrollment to a “White’s only” school. 

Canadian Women Now And Then: More Than 100 Stories of Fearless Trailblazers

So many women in Canada have made huge strides in history to pave the path for other women in the arts, education, politics, sports, activism, and more. This compilation takes a look at these women and is sure to inspire further research. 

Black Women Who Dared

This book highlights 10 Black women in Canadian history who are little-known but who made a significant impact in their communities and made life better for others in Canada. 

Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust

This is the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who, with strength and courage, fought against the evils of WWII, rescuing 2,500 Jewish children in Poland from the Warsaw Ghetto, hoping to reunite them with their parents when the war was over.

Other Books

Fierce Women Who Shaped Canada

Learn more about the women who shaped Canada whose stories have not been told. These are the overlooked women of history who have done brave and amazing things and are women you might not have heard of but should know.

Letters From Cuba

This is the story of Esther Abraham, who escaped 1930s Poland with her father to Cuba to start a better life, escaping from the Nazis and the impending WWII. This is based on the family history of Cuban-American anthropologist Ruth Behar.

Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier

Group 9 was NASA’s first mixed-gender class. This graphic novel is about the women of Group 9, including Mary Cleave and Valentina Tereshkova, and how they trailblazed the path for women in space.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

This book will give readers an understanding of Amelia Earhart’s life before her last flight in 1937, from her childhood until her mysterious disappearance.

Female-Owned Bookstore Links

Other Holidays and Celebrations Resources

This Article of the Week Non-Fiction Articles Holidays Bundle contains 14 non-fiction articles and post-reading activities to assist with reading comprehension and cross-curricular learning.

Resource Includes

  • 14 high-interest non-fiction articles
  • 3 post-reading activities per article
  • 7 Reading Strategies graphic organizers
  • 5 Summarizing graphic organizers

Included Topics:

  1. Chinese New Year
  2. Lunar New Year
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Valentine’s Day
  5. Daylight Savings
  6. St. Patrick’s Day
  7. April Fools’ Day
  8. Earth Day
  9. Ramadan
  10. Halloween
  11. Diwali
  12. Hanukkah
  13. Christmas
  14. Kwanzaa

You can purchase this Article of the Week Non-Fiction Articles Holidays Bundle in my Shopify CAD store or my Teachers Pay Teachers USD store.

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