Smithsonian

Step Three: Examine and Predict

Tell students that they will now look at the roles of specific women. Display the “mystery envelopes.” Students will use clues found within the envelopes to predict the contributions of a specific female patriot.

Present the Martha Washington envelope and use the “think-aloud” below to model the process of making a prediction. (Hold up the envelope and dramatically remove the contents.) Record your prediction on a copy of the “Patriot Women and the American Revolution” prediction-and-confirmation chart.

Think-aloud:

I have a name, Martha Washington, and a picture, an object, and a clue card. [Model recording Martha Washington in the Name column of the chart.] I know from my background knowledge that Martha Washington was George Washington’s wife and that George Washington was a wealthy landowner. The picture must be of Martha. Her clothing confirms the fact that she was wealthy, but this doesn’t help me predict her contribution to the fight for independence. The object must represent something about her. I think I have seen this before. My grandmother used to put something like this on her finger when she sewed to keep the needle from sticking her. She called it a thimble. I wonder if this has anything to do with her contribution to the American Revolution. Maybe Martha Washington sewed something. In the general “Contributions of Women,” we recorded that women helped by sewing uniforms. I’ll read the clue card. I think I can make my prediction now. [Model the process of recording in the Prediction column of the chart.]

Divide the class into groups and distribute a “mystery envelope” to each group. Direct students to use the method you modeled to examine the materials in the envelope and predict the role of their mystery women in the fight for independence. Group predictions should be written on the prediction-and-confirmation chart “Patriot Women and the American Revolution.”

Have a spokesperson from each group share the group’s predictions--and reasons for the predictions--with the class.