Diane Walker, English
University High School
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-7100
SUBJECT: The activity presented below is best used after completion of a unit on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Skills incorporated into this lesson include critical listening, critical thinking, argumentation, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, small group discussion, research, character analysis, literary analysis. This activity could be easily adapted to fit other issues in the study of literature, social studies, science, etc.
SAMPLE INSTRUCTION SHEET:
The Trial of Mark Twain
Mark Twain has been accused of promoting racism in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This class will try the author and determine his guilt of innocence.
Each person in the class will participate in the trial
Witnesses will be for either the defense or the prosecution. To determine which students will portray witnesses, the defense and the prosecution must present a list of needed witnesses the second day of preparation for the trial. The witnesses will then be assigned from the class. The remaining students will serve as jurors.
The assignment is worth 50 points. Grades will be based on how well the student carries out his/her part in the trial including evidence of preparation and research, knowledge of the novel, strength of presentation, reasoning skills employed.
The jury, in addition to serving during the trial, must also write a two-page paper explaining how they reached their verdict.
NOTE: It is a good idea to have additional assignments (Perhaps assigned reading in the next unit) during the planning days for jurors who may not be actively involved in the trial preparation.
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