Women's Place is in the House...and Senate!

Women's Place is in the House...and Senate!
Hillary Clinton: Law, Politics and Govt

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: One to two class periods


Required Documents
Tally Sheet.doc

Introduction:

Hillary Clinton is the first First Lady to leave the White House at the end of her husband's term and then run successfully for Congress.  She now represents the State of New York in the United States Senate, and is one of a number of women who have representated their districts and states in the Congress of the United States.

Objectives:

Students who participate in this lesson will discover the women who have served the United States in Congress, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They will make a grid of the women who have served, the states they have represented, and the length of time they served, and will be able to use this data to answer questions (below) about women in Congress.  Each student will then select one Senator or Representative, read her biography, and write a short description of her life and interests.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.  The tally sheet provided with the lesson.  Books or other materials about women in Congress.

Procedures:


1.  Ask students if they know who Senator Hillary Clinton is, and what state she represents.  If they don't know, answer the questions and, perhaps, show some pictures of Senator Clinton.

2.  Divide the class into nine groups, one for each decade since the 1920s.  Give a  Tally Sheet to each group, and ask students to write down the names of women who have served in the House or Senate in each decade (1924-1929, 1930-1939; 1940-1949; etc.), what states they have represented, what political party they belonged to, and how long they served. 

3.  When the Tally Sheets are completed, tape them up on the walls of your classroom, and give students time to look at each one.  Ask the students to answer the following questions:

  • How many women have served, or are serving in the U.S. House of Representatives?
  • How many women have served, or are serving in the U.S. Senate?
  • Which political party has sent more women to Congress?
  • How many states have had women as Representatives or Senators?
  • Are there any states that have not?
  • Which state has sent the most women to Congress?
  • Which state has sent the least number of women to Congress?

4.  When the questions are all answered, ask each student to choose one Representative or Senator from the two lists on the Web, and find out a little about her from her biography.  Each student can also use print materials or other web sites to find more information about his or her chosen Representative or Senator.   

5.  When students have finished their research, each student should write a short description of his or her chosen Representative or Senator to share with the class.

Extending the Lesson:


This lesson may be extended by combining all the biographies into a book about Women in Congress.

Sources & Resources:


Websites:

Women in the House  
Women in the Senate
 
Credits:
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.