The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 2

Notes and Lesson Plans

50 Fearless Women
updated July 14, 2023

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50 Fearless Women
for Class 2


This Cultural block was a bit unusual. We did the traditional block of the Saints with a mixed second/third grade class in October but then did "Fearless Women from U.S. History" for our Virtuous People side of things.

I got the idea because I taught this block in a mixed age homeschool co-op, and the fifth graders did U.S. Presidents in October (2020 being an election year). I then had both groups hear stories about Fearless Women in March (when the fifth graders also had North American Geography). It was a very balancing experience, since they had both done so many male figures from history in October.

Books to Buy

I am basing this block on 50 Fearless Women Who Made American History by Jenifer Bazzit.

And if you have a wonderful idea for a woman who would be a great fit for this list, email Renee!

This block could obviously also be taught in 7th & 8th grade, when U.S. History is studied and with a particular emphasis on biographies.

I recently had a Zoom call with a 1st/2nd grade teacher who wanted to chat more about this block. In particular, she was wondering about MLB page illustrations. In looking back on this topic, I realized that I think we went too intellectual with it. Too much "head" and not enough "heart," and the MLB illustrations that the children did reflected that strain (which is why I never photographed them).

If I were to do this block again, I would focus more on just one single strong image from the women's lives (such as the cascading water over Helen Keller's hand when she grasped what the symbol meant) and bring that visual to the MLB page instead of it being so much biography. If you are doing a mixed 1st/2nd grade class, you could then blend this topic with the Capital Letters block.

For example:

    Helen Keller at the water pump
    illustration of pump OR
    W is for Water

    Georgia O'Keeffe sleeping on her roof under the stars
    wet-on-wet painting with both blues OR
    S is for Stars (LMNOP) OR N is for Nebula (The Wise Enchanter)

*NEW* American Women Quarters Program

This four-year program celebrates the accomplishments and contributions made by women of the United States. Beginning in 2022, and continuing through 2025, the U.S. Mint will issue up to five new reverse designs each year (with Washington on the obverse). Here are the women & designs so far:


    • Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
    • Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space
    • Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
    • Nina Otero-Warren – a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
    • Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood


    • Bessie Coleman - first African American and first Native American woman pilot
    • Edith Kanaka'ole - indigenous Hawaiian composer, custodian of native culture and traditions
    • Eleanor Roosevelt - first lady, author, and civil liberties advocate
    • Jovita Idar - Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist
    • Maria Tallchief - America's first prima ballerina

List of Stories & Activities

We can't study all 50 women in this book, of course. Here is the complete list of biographies.

Some of the resources I suggest would be better for doing this study in the older grades; I'm going to list everything here for simplicity's sake and you can decide what makes sense for your child.

Pocahontas, p.1
(ca. 1597 - 1617)

Anne Hutchinson, p.4

Mercy Otis Warren, p.7

Phillis Wheatley, p.10
(ca. 1753 - 1784)

Deborah Sampson, p.13
(1760 - 1827)

Abigail Adams, p.16
(1744 - 1818)

    the image that stands out to me for Abigail Adams is the strong love between her and her husband, John Adams, and the many letters that they wrote back and forth while apart

    I would suggest a drawing of a quill pen and inkstand OR
    F is for Feather

    and sealing a letter with sealing wax is awfully fun!

    it would be wonderful to do this around Valentine's Day and have the children make valentines for their parents this way!

Sacagawea, p.19
(ca. 1788 - 1812)

Lucretia Mott, p.22

Sojourner Truth, p.25

Dorothea Dix, p.28

Harriet Beecher Stowe, p.31

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, p.34

Susan B. Anthony, p.37
(1820 - 1906)

Harriet Tubman, p.40
(ca. 1820 - 1913)

Clara Barton, p.43

Elizabeth Blackwell, p.46

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, p.49
(1837 - 1930)

Victoria Woodhull, p.52

Queen Lili'uokalani, p.55
(1838 - 1917)

Annie Edson Taylor
(1838 - 1921)

not included in book

Frances Willard, p.58

Mary Hardway Walker
(ca. 1848 - 1969)

not included in book

Katherine "Kate" Sessions
(1857 - 1940)

not included in book

Jane Addams, p.61
(1860 - 1935)

Ida B. Wells, p.64

Nellie Bly, p.67
(1864 - 1922)

Clara Lemlich, p.70

Helen Keller, p.73
(1880 - 1968)

Emily Greene Balch, p.76

Georgia O'Keeffe, p.79
(1887 - 1986)

Eleanor Roosevelt, p.82
(1884 - 1962)

Amelia Earhart, p.85

Clare Boothe Luce, p.88

Josephine Baker
(1906 - 1975)

not included in book

Grace Hopper, p.91

Rachel Carson, p.94
(1907 - 1964)

Virginia Apgar, p.97
(1909 - 1974)

    Thu, Mar 25 and Fri, Mar 26


    by Paola Quintavalle

    Apgar score article
    U.S. National Library of Medicine

Rosa Parks, p.100

Marie Tharp
(1920 - 2006)

not included in book

Marguerite Higgins, p.103

Maria Tallchief, p.106
1925 - 2013

Ruth Asawa
(1926 - 2013)

not included in book

    A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa

    by Andrea D'Aquino

    Art History - Ruth Asawa

    we are just working on studying Ruth Asawa now, but she would be wonderful for making forms with your feet in dirt!

    there's also her Baker's Clay Recipe, which she invented for her work with children

    "She co-founded the Alvarado School Arts Workshop in 1968 and was instrumental in the creation of the first public arts high school in San Francisco in 1982, which was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in her honor in 2010."

Coretta Scott King, p.109

Muriel Siebert, p.112

Maya Angelou, p.115

    look at Maya Angelou quarter (2022)

Dolores Huerta, p.118
(1930 - )

Sandra Day O'Connor, p.121

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
(1933 - 2020)

not included in book

Gloria Steinem, p.124

Barbara Jordan, p.127

Marian Wright Edelman, p.130

Wilma Rudolph
(1940 - 1994)

not included in book

Billie Jean King, p.133

Sally Ride, p.136
(1951 - 1912)

Oprah Winfrey, p.139

Sonia Sotomayor, p.142
(1954 - )

Maya Lin, p.145

Mary Bonauto, p.148

Kamala Harris
Now, of course, we can also add in Kamala!

"Kamala Devi Harris is an American politician and attorney who is the 49th and current vice president of the United States. She is the first female vice president and the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history, as well as the first African American and first Asian American vice president."

Special Guest
Lastly, it could be really great to end the block by learning about a Fearless Woman from your local area. Have the children come up with interview questions for her, and then invite her to be a special guest at the final class, and they can talk to her in person.

My blog posts from teaching this topic:

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