Classroom Activities: 

Home      Elementary      Middle School      High School

Daughters of Freedom Song Analysis: The Power of Forceful Words

Lesson Overview

Overview: Students will listen to and participate in a brief discussion of music as a medium for ideas and culture. Students will analyze sheet music of a women's suffrage song, noting the emphasis on the strong language used. Students will analyze and contemplate why such language was used and ultimately conclude the passion women expressed for the right to vote.
Grade Range: 3-5

Competing this activity students will:

  • Listen to a modern song and with teacher direction, generate a list of insights this song gives into our modern culture. This will introduce the concept that a song carries linguistic meaning and is often a source of the ideas of people.
  • Participate in a teacher led discussion on the overall meaning of the song "Daughters of Freedom."
  • Read through the sheet music "Daughters of Freedom" highlighting strong words and phrases used.
  • Discuss and research meaning of unknown words, and discuss why such words were used.
  • Add a fifth line to the song using at least two new words/phrases, must be strong and forceful, showing comprehension of the lesson.
Time Required: One class period of 45 minutes
Discipline/Subject: Social Studies with a Language Arts component
Topic/Subject: Women's History
Era: Progressive Era to New Era, 1900-1929


Illinois Learning Standards"

Social Studies:
14-Understand political systems, with an emphasis on the United States.
14.D-Understand roles and influences of individuals and interest groups in the political systems of Illinois, the U.S. and other nations.
14.F-Understand the development of the U.S. political ideas and traditions.
16-Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States, and other nations.
16.A-Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.
16.D-Understand Illinois, U.S., and world social history.

Language Arts:
1-Read with understanding and fluency.
1.A-Apply word analysis and vocabulary skills to comprehend selections.
2-Read and understand literature representative of various societies, eras, and ideas.
2.A-Understand how literary elements and techniques are used to convey meaning.
2.B-Read and interpret a variety of literary works. 


Handouts: LOC item Daughters of Freedom
Analysis Tools: Sheet Music Analysis
Rubrics: Simple Assessment Rubric (available on PDF)
Library of Congress Items: Title of Source: Daughters of Freedom by Edward Christie


1. Play a modern popular song, guiding students to listen specifically for insights the song brings out about our 21st century American culture.
2. Direct students to share their insights by generating a list. Volunteers write insights on SMARTboard.
3. Teacher leads a short discussion introducing the concept that the word of a song carry linguistic meaning and are often a source of the current ideas of people.
4. Students receive a copy of the sheet music "Daughters of Freedom" from the LOC website. Read over the song together and participate in a teacher led discussion on the overall meaning of this song (connecting this song to our unit of study on women's suffrage). Use sheet music analysis tool to guide discussion.
5. Students read through the sheet music "Daughters of Freedom" individually, highlighting strong words and phrases used (i.e. arise in your might, battle, sunder the fetters, clouds of oppression).
6. From the highlighted words, students choose and list at least four words or phrases they thought were full of meaning. Teacher will model this process and make a connection of the song played earlier in the lesson to the song Daughters of Freedom. Explain the Sheet Music Analysis worksheet.
7. Break students into small groups, where they will discuss and research the meanings of unknown words. Provide dictionaries and online resources to look up meanings of words or phrases. Students will discuss why such words were used (ultimately leading to strong words represent strong passion for the right to vote). Students will then complete the Sheet Music Analysis worksheet. Teacher monitors students work walking from group to group guiding as needed.
8. Give time for students to share results. Which words did you choose and why did you choose them? Allow for discussion. Check for oral understanding and re-direct as needed.
9. Using prior knowledge of the women's suffrage movement, students are to add a fifth verse to the song, using at least two new words/phrases that have not previously appeared in the song. Students choose their own words that carry strong meaning like "fight", "courage", etc. Words/phrases must be strong and forceful, showing comprehension of the lesson. Teacher will collect and assess using a simple scoring rubric.


Use scoring rubric and teacher insights from oral evaluations (available on PDF).


Listen to the song

Author Credits:

J. Colet
East Prairie Elementary