February 10th Franklin, TN In one of the best examples of Project-Based Learning we have ever seen, third and fourth graders from Franklin Elementary School in Franklin, Tennessee, created and hosted a Women’s Suffragette Museum in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. What many do not realize, however, is what a pivotal role that Tennessee had in its passage.
The Accelerated Learning Teacher, Michelle Pieczura, went to the TNWoman100 website to get the names of all the women who had a part of the Suffragette movement (for and against) and put the names in a hat for each student to randomly choose. The third and fourth graders learned how to research information and take notes and created a biographical essay. The students then researched different artifacts that had to do with their person and “printed” those (with a 3D printer) and labeled them. Also, in a group project they wrote a comic together about the “War of the Roses” where house members and spectators wore yellow (for) and red (against) roses indicating which side they were on.
The students created some elaborate decorative displays having to do with pro and anti-suffrage. They pulled out some important quotes from different people and made different replica buttons. They even 3-D printed roses to show which side their person was on. Says Pieczura, “It was their idea to make photo booth and a coloring station and a button making station. I was amazed at their creativity and their passion for doing this [project].”
The mayor of Franklin, Tennessee, Ken Moore, performed the official ribbon cutting while proud parents, school board members, media, Tennessee Women Suffragette Committee members and other educators looked on.
In this Project-Based Learning opportunity, students participated in an historical event that they will not forget. There were 17 women featured in the museum with artwork featured throughout and stations at the end. Photos from the remarkable exhibit are featured below.
Bethany Bowman is the Director of Professional Learning for the Professional Educators of Tennessee.