We have just finished up our Suffragettes Unit Study. It has been one of the most interesting things we have studied. In particular, Abigail really enjoyed it and has chosen to do her final Edwardian presentation on women’s suffrage. I have to giggle at my ignorance sometimes…I was under the misapprehension that the word ‘suffrage’ came from the fact that the women suffered. Not so, as it happens! It means political franchise, or the right to vote. I literally knew nothing about this subject, apart from the fact that some woman called Emmeline Pankhurst was arrested fighting for women’s rights.
Suffragette Unit Study: Resources
Normally, I have many resources to share with you, but sometimes less is more. In fact, in this case, I found one or two excellent resources much easier to handle than many inferior ones.
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality
This was perhaps the most interesting, well written book I have read for many years. The illustrations were bold, colourful and very simple to understand. They were so carefully compiled that they almost told a story all by themselves. In terms of words per page, this is a heavy read, yet it never felt heavy because it was so very interesting. The book covers everything a nine and twelve year old needs to know about the suffragette movement and much more besides. Ask the girls who the Prime minister was at this time and they will immediately squeal ‘Asquith!’ And they only know this because each story in the book is woven around the colourful characters alive back in the day.
Titanic: Memorabilia Pack
I always buy one of these if i can. The packs are full of reproductions of newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, tickets and the like to do with the subject matter. We use these as primary evidence and for the display board for presentations:
Suffragettes Unit Study: Activities
Newspaper Articles: Who were the suffragists and who were the suffragettes?
The suffragists were women and men who believed that women should have the vote but believed that any action taken should be peaceful and not against the law. Suffragettes believed in women’s suffrage but were much less peaceful in the way they protested, frequently landing themselves in prison. Becca did some lovely pictures of actual people who belonged to each:
A letter to the editor campaigning for women’s suffrage
The girls wrote to the editor of their paper a persuasive essay putting forward their arguments for women’s suffrage:
An article on Women’s Suffrage
Comparing The treatment of women pre and post war
The girls carried out an activity comparing how women were treated pre and post the First World War:
Looking at Primary Evidence to Decide Whether Emily Davison Committed Suicide When She Threw Herself in Front of the Horse at Epsom Downs
This was a great activity from Twinkl which we did verbally rather than in writing. The girls looked at all the evidence, most of it primary evidence collected from the time it happened. They then needed to decide whether Emily Davison died unknowingly or whether she, in fact, tried to commit suicide:
It was a bit like a detective investigation, and both girls were very excited to surmise that Emily Davison’s death was a complete accident!
Suffragettes Unit Study: Preparing for the Presentation
Writing the speeches
There were two elements to their speeches. The first was a speech about the Edwardians in general. The girls will be taking it in turns to speak and the whole presentation will include their first radio broadcast and a recording of Rule Britannia playing half way through which the girls will speak over.
The second part of the presentation is focused on the girls’ individual interests. Becca is going to go first and has chosen to speak about the reasons the Titanic sunk. She wrote her own speech, before which she will play our stop animation of the Titanic sinking. Directly after her speech, she will be demonstrating her knowledge of Morse Code, by sending the audience a message via their telegraph key, which they will need to decipher.
Abigail wanted to talk about the suffragettes and their propensity for getting themselves arrested, focusing on the way the prison officers fought to force feed the women. She will be starting her presentation with a debate by Charlotte and Ads. Charlotte will be putting forward the case for why women should not have the vote. Ads will be debating the opposite! Then Abs will give her speech, demonstrating with a home made contraption the force feeding bit (see below) and then Lillie will lead them in a rousing rendition of ‘Sister Suffragettes.
Making the Props
The props included the presentation board (not quite finished, but you get a bit of the idea from the photo below), making rotten eggs and fish bones to throw at poor Ads and Charlotte to heckle them when they say something of which we disapprove. Abigail also made a rather alarming contraption similar to the ones they used for force feeding prisoners, oh and chains to tie up any wayward suffragettes:
The girls photocopied some tickets to give the watchers of their presentations and they practiced the song ‘Sister Suffragettes’ from Mary Poppins:
Practicing the Presentation
Over the past few weeks we have been practicing at every opportunity:
Lillie has (very, very) enthusiastically practiced the singing and dancing for ‘Sister Suffragettes’ from Mary Poppins:
We have only got as far as choosing Abigail’s costume, because I think Becca will wear her Titanic dress as she is presenting on the Titanic. So for now, here is Abs:
Apart from finishing the display board (I need to add the titles and the Program of Events) and ironing Abs’ outfit, we are all set and very much looking forward to Saturday!