My favorite activity in the unit I created is the mock trial we do for the character Absalom. For those of you who haven't read it yet, Absalom is a black native in South Africa that is accused of murdering a white man. Absalom does admit to shooting him, but claims it was not intentional, but rather out of fear. He receives a trial in the novel, but the trial is for a black man during Apartheid in South Africa...how do you think that went??
So my students give him a "fair" trial based on the facts presented in the novel. We have the four witnesses from the novel, and then the rest of the class is split into Prosecution and Defense. They are given a graphic organizer to help them plan, and can use evidence from the novel. The students who are witnesses create a timeline of events and need to be prepared to be questioned by both sides. [I have them make Google Doc accounts to they can all add to, and access the information]
Here's the directions for the trial:
And here's the graphic organizer filled out as a rubric from one of today's trials:
The defense won this round :)
This is such a great activity, covers several Common Core standards, and create community amongst the class, and is just fun :)
Have a great day!!