|Subject/Grade Level/Unit Title||Timeframe/Grading Period||Big Idea/Themes/Understandings||Essential Questions||Standards||Essential Skills||Vocabulary||Assessment Tasks||Resources|
How do the amendments to the Constitution support and guide the participation of jurors in trials?
How do people change based on the personalities contained in a group?
How does an individual influence the opinion or actions of a group?
To what extent would you stand up for what you believe in?
The performing arts continue to be an essential part of academic curriculum. They help students to be more creative and inventive decision makers and teach powerful ways of communicating ideas, thought, and feelings.
Twelve Angry Men is a complex one-act play that uses simple language to communicate challenging themes of racism, group dynamics, justice, and integrity.
There are several ways that this play can be used in classrooms. The following activities suggest ways that it can be incorporated into an interdisciplinary learning experience touching on learning skills in literature, social and political science, dramatic arts, stagecraft, marketing and business management, public speaking, and film studies.
Students will read the play then choose from the following activities.
Reading a Play
Plays are meant to be heard and seen, not read. Each of the parts will be assigned to a student and read the play aloud. Someone will be in charge of reading stage directions. Acting troupes typically begin their rehearsal process by sitting and reading the entire play. This is called a "read through."
What a Character!
Students will be divided into small groups. Assign each group one of the characters. Have the group analyze their character and conduct one of the following activities:
Write a profile of the character, describing his personality, appearance, and motivations.
Conduct an "interview" with the character, with one group member role playing the character and the other role playing a newspaper reporter covering the trial.
Write a letter from the character to his long-time best friend describing the trial and his perspective on what happened.
Draw a picture depicting what you think the character would look like and what he would wear.
Write new lyrics to a song that your character would sing as an explanation of his actions or beliefs.
Fill out an order for what you think your character would have requested for dinner if the deliberations had continued and food had been ordered. Explain your choices.
Putting the Play in Context
Discuss the events that took place during the summer of 1956""the same time in which the play takes place. Some events include:
Sinking of the Andrea Doria
4-week old baby kidnapped from the patio of a Long Island family
The Detroit Tigers and Briggs Stadium are sold for a record $5.5 million
The "Suez crisis" occurred
The U.S. motto "In God We Trust" was adopted
The students are reporters for a day and will be reporting on the trial in "Twelve Angry Men" and the events listed above. They will write articles for a mock newspaper. Each article should be no more than 300 words. Every story in a newspaper or magazine has a lead. The lead must grab the reader's attention and give them a reason to keep reading. Students will use a pyramid style writing.
Assign stories. Article assignments might include:
Sinking of the Andrea Doria
Sidebar on other fatal shipwrecks (be sure to include only those that occur before 1956)
Profile of the defendant in the trial
News accounts of the trial
Interview with a juror
Weather report (should be consistent with the weather reported in the script)