Susan B. Anthony

She’s Worth a Mint!

Susan B. Anthony was a teacher, a speaker and an American civil rights leader who fought for rights for African Americans and women. She spoke out against slavery and fought for suffrage, or the right to vote for African Americans and women. Susan cast her vote in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested for doing so. Women were finally given the right to vote in 1920 with the 19th amendment. Although Susan B. Anthony had passed away in 1906, it is sometimes called the Susan B. Anthony amendment in honor of her arduous work and steadfast beliefs regarding suffrage.

What examples can we draw from Susan B. Anthony? In this lesson, students will learn about Susan B. Anthony and her fight for what she believed in. Students will identify Susan B. Anthony’s actions that make her an agent for change.


Three 30-minute class periods


Students will…

  • read and understand a historical biography about Susan B. Anthony.
  • make connections to Susan B. Anthony’s contributions to the Women’s Rights Movement and suffrage.
  • write in response to reading.
  • Identify actions of Susan B. Anthony that made her an agent of change.
  • Identify a personal agent for change and their qualifying characteristics
  • create a Susan B. Anthony coin mobile.

Before beginning the lesson, read the biography and background information. Also, find a picture of a Susan B. Anthony dollar to display on a Smart Board or projector OR a real coin to pass around. Make copies of the coin pattern pages (1 per student) on card stock or construction paper.


Before starting, read the biography and background information provided 

  1. Show a picture of a Susan B. Anthony coin or pass around an authentic coin. Ask students the following questions:
    1. Who is on the coin?
    2. What is the value of the coin?
    3. What is on the back of the coin?
    4. Why do you think Susan B. Anthony was chosen to have her image on a coin?
  2. Share the following information with the students:
    1. The reverse side of the coin features an American eagle landing on the Moon, an adaptation of the Apollo 11 insignia.
    2. When the Susan B Anthony dollar was minted, many people did not like.  It looked too much like a quarter and confused people. The U.S. mint stopped producing the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1981, but reintroduced it in 1999. In 2000, the Sacagawea dollar took the place of the Susan B. Anthony dollar.
    3. The coin is a Susan B. Anthony dollar. Legislated in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, the coin was first minted by the United States in 1979. The selection of Susan B. Anthony was cheered by the Congresswomen’s Caucasus, The League of Women Voters, and the National Organization of Women. Anthony became the first woman to be honored with her image on a United States coin.
  3. Tell the students that, as a class, they are going to explore why Susan B. Anthony was important enough to be the first female to have her image on a circulating coin. 

Tell your students that we are going to find why Susan B. Anthony was an agent of change. What do they think that means? Explain that an agent of change for social causes is someone who fights so that everyone has a chance to basic freedoms. Susan B Anthony protested and fought for the rights of the enslaved and for women. She set an example for others to follow to make society better.

This discussion will help students analyze Anthony’s ideas and accomplishments and establish a more active connection and understanding of how Susan B. Anthony’s ideas and actions impacted history. 

Questions to consider after exploring key themes: What made her an agent of change in society?

  1. What qualities would the students use to describe a leader or an agent of change? As a class, brainstorm a list of attributes or provide words and build from that list, for example:
    1. Courageous, intelligent, angry, dedicated, frustrated, determined, leader, strong, resolve, achiever, ambitious, independent.
    2. Include all words that the students brainstorm.
  2. Share biographical information with students OR Read aloud Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Freedom and Equality by Suzanne Slade or another biographical picture book about Susan B. Anthony.
  3. Ask students the following questions:
    1. Who was Susan B. Anthony?
    2. Why is she an agent of change? List all reasonable responses on a chart on the board. See below.

Agent of Change-Susan B. Anthony                     

Action Descriptive Adjective
Example: She quit her job as a teacher because of the low pay and started speaking for women’s Rights around the country. Brave, outgoing
  1. For second grade, prompt students to come up with descriptive words. For third grade, ask students to identify her actions based on the biographical information. Once actions are recorded, ask them to think of an adjective to describe Susan B. Anthony based on the action.
  2. Hand out the coin pattern sheets (pg 5-6). Ask students to cut out the coins and list responses from the chart on the back of each coin. 

Ask students:

  • What were the main ideas you selected from the reading? Why?
  • What do you think is the most important reason Susan B. Anthony was chosen as the first female to have her image on a minted coin and the reason why we learn about her today?
  • How can an agent of change help change society?
  • How should Susan B. Anthony be an example and inspire us today?  
Assessment / Homework

(This can be done on day 2 or assigned as homework.)

Students can use the blank coin pattern to design a coin for someone who is an agent of change today. On one side, students will sketch a likeness of the person and decorate the coin. On the other side, they will list actions and/or descriptions that make their chosen person an agent of change.

On day 2 or 3, ask students to share at least two of their responses on their coins. Encourage them to share their response and design on their newly created coin. Ask them why they would define their person as an agent of change. 

Once everyone has shared, ask students what qualities did their chosen agents of change have in common with Susan B. Anthony? Ask the group, is there is a consensus to Susan B. Anthony’s greatest achievement or contribution?

After the discussion, students can color the coins and use a hole punch, yarn and a hanger, paper towel tube or dowel rod to assemble the coins on a mobile. Mobiles can be decorated and hung from the ceiling around the room.

Future Research / Resources
  • Extend the discussion by assigning students to do a more in-depth research on Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other suffragists.
  • Students can learn more about the history of money on US Mint for Kids

NCSS- Standard 4 - Individual Development and Identity Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity. Personal identity is shaped by one’s culture, by groups, and by institutional influences. Examination of various forms of human behavior enhances understanding of the relationships among social norms and emerging personal identities, the social processes that influence identity formation, and the ethical principles underlying individual action.

NCSS-Standard 6- Power, Authority and Governance Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance. Understanding the historical development of structures of power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society, as well as in other parts of the world, is essential for developing civic competence. By examining the purposes and characteristics of various governance systems, learners develop an understanding of how groups and nations attempt to resolve conflicts and seek to establish order and security. Through the study of the dynamic relationships among individual rights and responsibilities, the needs of social groups, and

C3 K-2 Explain how all people, not just official leaders, play important roles in a community.

C3 3-5 Explain how a democracy relies on people’s responsible participation and draw implications for how individuals should participate.

C3 3-5 Examine the origins and purposes of rules, laws, and key U.S. constitutional provisions.

C3 3-5 Explain how groups of people make rules to create responsibilities and protect freedoms.

Visual Arts Standard 3 The students will observe, select, and utilize a variety of ideas and subject matter in creating original works of art.

ELA Standards Speaking and Listening 3.1.R.3

Students will engage in collaborative discussions about appropriate topics & texts, expressing their own ideas clearly in pairs, diverse groups, and whole class settings.

ELA Standards Writing 3.1.W.1

Students will report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences at an appropriate pace.