The Incredible Lives Behind the New Faces of U.S. Currency
This week, the United States Treasury announced that it would be changing the faces on U.S. currency to include leaders from the civil rights and women's rights movements, including Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If you're looking for differentiated lessons on these notable figures—to build background knowledge for an in-class discussion—we've got just the thing. Have your students read these ThinkCERCA lessons about the lives and actions of these incredible individuals, then have them write or participate in a Socratic discussion using our suggested prompts listed below.
Leveled Independent Reading Lessons
- Progress Is the Law How did Elizabeth Cady Stanton use words and actions to fight for the rights of women? (Grades 3-5; CCSS.CCRA.R.8)
- Alice Paul How did Alice Paul help shape history? (Grades 3-5; CCSS.CCRA.R.5)
- A Woman on the $20 Bill? How do people feel about putting a woman's face on U.S. money? (Grades 3-5; CCSS.CCRA.R.7)
- Martin Luther King Jr. What made Martin Luther King, Jr. such an inspiring leader? (Grades 3-5; CCSS.CCRA.R.8)
- Harriet Tubman, The Woman Called Moses What events led to Harriet Tubman's participation in the Underground Railroad? (Grades 6-8; CCSS.CCRA.R.3)
- A Landmark Concert 75 Years Ago What statement did Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson want to make through the Freedom Concert? (Grades 6-8; CCSS.CCRA.R.4)
- Don't Go to Memphis Why was the work Martin Luther King, Jr. was doing in Memphis meaningful? (Grades 6-8; CCSS.CCRA.R.8)
- Timely Leader What made Martin Luther King Jr. an American hero? (Grades 9-10; CCSS.CCRA.R.5)
- Massive Nonviolence How did nonviolent protests in Birmingham affect the civil rights movement? (Grades 11-12; CCSS.CCRA.R.1)
Applied Writing Lessons
- Multiday Informational Text: "The Power of a Voice" and "Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson" Based on the evidence from different points of view represented in these accounts of Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt's work together, how were the two women able to help break down racial segregation in the United States? (Grade 5; CCSS.RI.5.9; CCSS.W.5.1)
- 100 Years Later, Lessons from the Sufferin’ Suffragettes What claims, according to historians, can we make about the suffragette movement based on the documents and artifacts from the period? (Grade 9; CCSS.RI.9-10.7; CCSS.W.9-10.1)
- Woman's Right to the Suffrage Why does Anthony call a government that denies women the right to vote "the most hateful aristocracy ever established" in the world? (Grade 9; CCSS.RI.9-10.9; CCSS.W.9-10.1)
After building your students' background knowledge, use questions like these as discussion or writing prompts:
- What traits, qualities, or accomplishments make these individuals worthy of appearing on U.S. currency?
- Currency is a national symbol. What do the inclusion of these individuals on U.S. currency say about what the United States stands for?
- Given the individuals the Treasury is choosing to include on U.S. currency, what might have been the motivation to make this change?
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Claire has spent her career managing content creation of every possible sort, from print textbooks to marketing collateral to a travel blog. Having worked with major educational publishers and mobile companies, she brings project management and editorial expertise to her role at ThinkCERCA.
Claire has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a PMP certificate from the Project Management Institute.