Students will:

  • Understand the meaning of courage
  • Give examples of how Dr. Mary Edwards Walker showed courage

45 minutes

Materials Needed:

Introductory Activity:
Write the word courage on the board. List other words that also mean courage, such as bravery, fearlessness, fortitude, and heroism. Have students share examples of how they or someone they know showed courage. Discuss that Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is an example of someone who showed courage. She is the only female Recipient of the Medal of Honor. She received her medal for showing courage while volunteering for the U.S. Army as a surgeon and saving the lives of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

Whole Group Activity:
Distribute the Courage graphic organizer for students to take notes as they listen to the story. Have students record examples of how Dr. Mary Edwards Walker shows courage.

Read aloud Mary Walker Wears the Pants: The True Story of the Doctor, Reformer and Civil War Hero by Cheryl Carlo.

Have students share their examples of how Dr. Mary Edwards Walker showed courage with the class.

Whole Group Activity:
Explain to students that as they watch the video, they need to cite evidence on the Courage graphic organizer from the video that shows how Dr. Mary Edwards Walker showed courage. Show the MSNBC “HerStory: Dr. Mary Walker” video.

Discuss as a class examples of courage found in the video.

Concluding Activity:
Ask the students to find examples of courage in their own community. They should fill in the remaining white space around the graphic organizer with their examples and be prepared to share.

Group discussion, graphic organizer

Extended Activity:
For a more in-depth study of Dr. Mary Walker, upper elementary students can access the Character Development Program secondary lesson “Dr. Mary Walker: Citizen with Honor”** HerStory: Dr. Mary Walker originally aired on September 9th, 2015 on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.