The core of this idea is from Andrew, Karl and me. But we need help making it more awesome. Please comment with any ideas or tweaks you may have.
Here's the outline of the project:
1. Watch the Crucible (streaming on Netflix!). Generally discuss the play/plot.
2. Ask students to consider and have a Socratic Seminar on two questions:
- What motivation could you have for framing your best friend for a serious crime they didn't commit?
- How would you go about convincing people that your friend, a person well known for being upright and honest, had committed this crime?
3. Consider and Seminar about the three basic views of human nature/goodness:
- We are born basically good but can be corrupted
- We are born basically evil, but can be good
- We are a tabula rasa, and our influences are what determine our goodness
4. Watch documentary about Salem Witch Trials and the history/cultural influences going on in Salem. Discuss/Seminar these questions:
- How does that view of human nature influence the judgements we make about the characters and situations?
- How does that affect how we perceive the entire event? Is it an aberration or an inevitability? Is it because of the cultural crucible presented in the documentary?
Here's the final product:
A video, essay or multi-media project that does this:
Using your assumptions about human nature and the impact that has on your view of the Salem Witch Trials, consider how the conditions could be created for this to happen again.
Construct that scenario. And since accusing people of witchcraft is currently out of fashion, what crime is likely to replace it (but keeps the same connotation and impact witchcraft had in Salem)?
This is a class of mixed 11th and 12th graders, who are fairly proficient at technology and research, and can work together and collaborate extremely effectively. They have learned how to do close reading, how to collaborate on Google Drive, how to create and upload videos to YouTube, etc.
We have access to a computer lab with brand new MacBook Pros, with both OS X (Mountain Lion) and Windows 7 on them. I can stretch this project into next week, but I'd like it to be done by Friday, 7 November.
If you have suggestions or ideas about this, please post them here as a comment!