Voting Rights in America: A Traveling Exhibition

BY Michelle E. Dunn

Nathaniel H. Wixon School

Project Description
Cobblestone magazine is an exceptional history magazine for kids, used by teachers like myself, for decades. Their issue on voting rights in America traces voting rights back to colonial America and the struggle of four major groups to gain the right to vote: African-Americans, women, Native Americans and 18-21-year-olds. It also explores how one registers to vote, obstacles to voting and how kids can get involved. Using the magazine as their primary resources, students will work in groups to create an exhibit on presentation boards focusing on the struggle of each particular group to gain the right to vote. Students will use the internet (mostly with sites I refer them to) to investigate the current state of voting rights and voter participation for these groups. Once their presentation boards are completed, I would seek places around the community to display them. In addition to educating themselves and the community about voting rights, these boards would show the community the great work our students are doing in class. 46 copies of Cobblestone Magazine’s Voting Rights issue would allow two classes to use the magazine at the same time. I have used the articles in my class before and have developed note-taking and scaffolding resources.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Success will be measured by the quality of the student poster boards and our ability to get them into a variety of sites in the community, such as libraries, town halls, the senior center, Dennis-Yarmouth High School, etc.

Benefit to the students and the school
The benefits to students include the knowledge gained about voting rights, the English language Arts skills they will develop by studying the articles, researching their topic and creating the boards. The benefit to the school is that we will gain a valuable resources, and get good publicity for our school when the student work is shown in the community. The project aligns with the Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework Standards for Grade 5 and would touch on many English Language Arts Framework standards as well.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
I will continue to improve these resources and will create a unit plan to share with my colleagues. We can continue to benefit from this grant for years to come, as the magazine will be non-consumable.


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