Clara Barton Project Ideas

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Clara Barton was an accomplished humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross. Help students remember and celebrate Clara Barton and her accomplishments with these project ideas.

Studying Clara Barton

As students study the life and accomplishments of Clara Barton, it is important to create avenues by which information will be assimilated and remembered. One way to do this is to provide students with a variety of different activities that highlight Clara Barton and all that she achieved in her lifetime. The following projects and activities have been developed with this purpose in mind.


Take some time to point out various events in Clara Barton's life along with their exact dates (if known). Make a list of these events on the whiteboard or project them via a document camera. Then, guide students through the process of creating their own timelines.

  • Put students into groups of two.
  • Give each group a long piece of white construction paper.
  • Tell each group to fold the paper in half horizontally, unfold, and trace the line formed through the middle of the paper with a ruler.
  • Place a large dot or mark at the beginning of the timeline. Make note that this is Clara's birthdate, and place the appropriate date above or below the mark.
  • Next, place a mark at the end of the timeline and indicate this as being the time of Clara's death. Label and place a date.
  • Instruct students to fill in the remainder of their timelines with various events in Clara's life. Be sure students understand that they are to explain each point on the timeline and place the correct dates. Suggest using a pencil to space events out accordingly. Then re-trace with a permanent marker or sharpie, once the spacing is established.

Write a Children's Biography

Have students write a book about Clara Barton that is aimed toward younger readers.

  • First, read some examples of children's books that are biographical in nature.
  • Next, put students into groups of 3-4.
  • Give each group several pieces of writing paper and/or access to a computer so that they can work electronically.
  • Instruct each group to write a children's book about Clara Barton. Give them a target number of pages (this might depend on the age of the students participating in the activity). Ideally, the book should be 8-12 pages in length.
  • Once the writing is complete, encourage each of the groups to create illustrations for each or some of their pages.
  • Bind the books in some way (book binder, stapler, metal rings, etc).
  • Allow each of the groups to read their books aloud to the class.


Clara Barton was known to have written poetry. For this activity, have students write poems about Clara Barton. They might write:

  • Free verse poem
  • Haiku (3 lines with a pattern of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables)
  • Cinquain (5 lines with a pattern of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables)
  • A rhyming poem

Interview Clara Barton

For this activity, have students pretend that they are a reporter during Clara Barton's time.

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