The Salem Witch Trials marks at time in our
country's history in which hysteria lead to great tragedy. Many men
and women were wrongfully accused of witchcraft and put to a brutal and
unfair deaths. "The Crucible" by Arther Miller gives us an inside look
at the Salem Witch Trials. You've read the book, now it's time to put
yourselves in the same places as the witches and the accusers.
Questions to Consider:
Were the Salem witch trials justifiable?
Why do you think people were so afraid of these so called "witches"?
Did the people of Salem over react or were they rightfully scared?
How do the witch trials empower individuals who were previously powerless?
How were women viewed in Salem prior to the witch trials, during the witch trials and after the witch trials?
If you were living in Salem at the time of the trials, what could you have done to stop the trials?
Pick a character from the play and write perspective
paper from that characters point of view. Must be a real as possible-
including writing in the language that they would use at that time.
Requires student to get into the mind set of an accused person or an
Final presentation includes a
group effort of showing the rest of the class your journal entries.
Present them to the class as if you are the character.
Groups of 3-4
Member 1: research historical Salem, try to
understand where the hysteria of witchcraft came from and how it
influenced the people of Salem's reaction to the "witchcraft," make
cause and effect timeline with important events and the reaction to
Here is a list of websites that may be helpful:
Here is a list of websites that may be helpful including a Youtube clip:
3: research the methods used by authorities to prove if a person was a
witch and reasearch what happened to the person if they were accused of
being a witch. Make a chart of the methods, the chart should include a
description of the methods and descriptions of the punishments used.
Here is a list of websites that you may find helpful:
4: research Arthur Miller, the author of "The Crucible," find out why
he wrote the play. Students will have to relate the Salem witch trials
to the Red Scare during the 1950s. Require students to try and
understand the fear of communism in the 1950s and relate that fear to
fear of witchcraft in the 1600s. Maybe make a Venn Diagram
Here is a list of websites that you may find helpful:
group members: 4 students split up to two groups of two. Two become
sides of the accusers, the other two become the sides of the accused.
Must come up with a dialogue of how and accusation would be in the
times of 1692.
By the end of this lesson, you will have completed individual aspects of the project. Each group will have a cause and effect time-line, a chart of the methods for determining a witch, a Venn diagram comparing the Salem witch trials to the McCarthy trials, and a letter to the governor of Salem. Also, each group will have a script. The script will involve two sides, one of the accusers and the other of the accused. This completeness of the script can be measured by historical accuracy, accurate point-of-view, and knowledge gained. In order to do this project correctly you must get into the mind of your character and portray them correctly. If you are writing from the perspective of an accused witch, you must get into the mind set of the person accused. Try to imagine their thoughts and how they would feel. Put yourself into their shoes.
|Historical Accuracy||Very little of the historical information was accurate and/or in chronological order.||Most of the historical information was accurate and in chronological order.||Almost all historical information appeared to be accurate and in chronological order.||All historical information appeared to be accurate and in chronological order.|
|Role||Point-of-view, arguments, and solutions proposed were rarely in character.||Point-of-view, arguments, and solutions proposed were sometimes in character.||Point-of-view, arguments, and solutions proposed were often in character.||Point-of-view, arguments, and solutions proposed were consistently in character.|
|Knowledge Gained||Cannot explain one way in which his character "saw" things differently than other characters.||Can clearly explain one way in which his character "saw" things differently than other characters.||Can clearly explain several ways in which his character "saw" things differently than other characters.||Can clearly explain several ways in which his character "saw" things differently than other characters and can clearly explain why.|
|Required Elements||Student included less information than was required.||Student included most information that was required.||Student included all information that was required.||Student included more information than was required.|
|Mechanics||More than 4 errors in spelling or grammar.||4 misspellings and/or grammatical errors.||3 or fewer misspellings and/or grammatical errors.||No misspellings or grammatical errors.|
Credits and Refrences:
Images from Google Images.
Video Clip from Youtube
Arther Miller's The Crucible
This webquest was developed as an assignment by prospective teachers in an Education and Technology class at West Chester University. This specific webquest is designed for teachers who are teaching lessons on the Salem Witch Trials or The Crucible by Arther Miller.
This lesson is about the Salem Witch Trials during the 1600s in the United States. It requires students to understand the hysteria surrounding the trials as well as the historical events that led to the trials. The students will also be required to relate the Salem Witch trials to the Red Scare during the Cold War in the 1950s. By the end of this lesson students will see the similarities between the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials and the anti-communism hysteria.
The lesson is broken into two main parts, with students working individually for the first part and together for the second part. For the first part, the students will have one of four possible tasks, including researching historical Salem and understanding the hysteria that led to the trials. This student will complete a cause and effect time-line. The next student will write a persuasive letter to the governor of Salem calling for action against the trials or compose a tribute to the accused. The third member will research methods used by authorities to prove if person is a witch and find out what would happen to accused witches. This member will create a chart of the methods. The fourth member will research Arther Miller, the author of "The Crucible," to find out why he wrote the play. Students will have to relate the Salem witch trials to the Red Scare during the 1950s. This requires students to try and understand the fear of communism in the 1950s and relate that fear to fear of witchcraft in the 1690s. This student will make a Venn Diagram. For the second part of the assignment, the students will work together in a group. The group will break into two sides, with one side of the group becoming the accusers and the other side becoming the accused. Together they will create a dialogue of how the two sides interact in 1692.
GARDNER'S THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
This webquest covers several of Dr. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Perhaps the most obvious of these theories evident in the project is Gardner's linguistic intelligence. This assignment has students reading several different documents and accounts regarding people's perspectives during the witch trials, as well as watching a video clip or two covering both the written and spoken word. By reading and listening (two areas covered in the linguistic intelligence theory) students will effectively learn and be engaged in the material regardless of which learning style appeals most to a particular student.
During this webquest, students will also benefit from developing intra-personal as well as interpersonal skills as scripted in Gardner's theories. Specifically, group member 2's task requires the student write a letter to Puritan officials either as a tribute to the accused or to rally against the trials. Because the letter is in the student's perspective, the student must activate his or her own feelings and reflections when articulating a comprehensive viewpoint in regards to writing the letter. This task would perhaps suit a student who feels more comfortable working with intrapersonal criteria, however because part of the work the webquest details is group work, the student can always brainstorm with other group members before articulating the letter described in the task.
The final task students are assigned to best suits the interpersonal skills in Gardner's theory. All group members are required to form a dialogue which would simulate a witch trial in the late 1600's. Students must work together in order for the dialogue to be fluid and comprehensible.
Group members 1 and 3's tasks exemplify an accurate example of Gardner's verbal-linguist theory. Group member 1 is assigned the task of researching, reading and formulating a time line, all tasks defined in the verbal-linguistic section of Gardner's multiple intelligence theory. Group member 3, while sharing the verbal-linguistic aspect of Gardner's theories, also has students working with visual-spatial theory. Here, students are required research methods used by accusers during the witch trials and construct a chart encapsulating all of their findings. This combines the research and reading aspect of the verbal-linguistic theory with a task that allows students to use the information gathered visually.
Because there are various different components to this webquest, students are given the chance to work towards their strengths, as well as branch out and try learning styles that are more unfamiliar. Students will receive a balanced curriculum graded in several different areas creating a fair, comprehensive activity which engages various students' strengths and allows them to adapt in several learning styles.
Knowledge: Recall data or information. The students will need to have basic knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials and should be able to recall basic information from "The Crucible" as well as from the information from the websites used in the webquest.
Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. The students will need to be able to understand the information on the webquest as well as the information on the websites. The students should be able to comprehend the materials and put the information into their own words on the time-line, in the chart, in the venn diagram and in the letter.
Application: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. The students will have to apply the information learned into a new setting when they do the second part of the lesson. By placing themselves into the minds of the accusers and the accused they will be applying the information learned into a new setting.
Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences. When the students are reviewing the websites they will need to be able to differentiate between fact and opinion. Also when reading primary sources the students will need to understand the biases of the author of the document.
Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure. The students will need to understand the link between the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare. They should be able to see how similar the two situations are to one another. They should see the importance of the repeated history and be able to see the pattern.
Evaluation: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials. Not all the students will be able to reach the evaluation step, but the ones that do should be able to evaluate the importance of knowing history. If the student can see the importance of knowing history, then they should be able to understand how the hysteria of the Red Scare could have been avoided if Americans understood how the communist hunt was very similar to a witch hunt. (This level might require some scaffolding.)
This webquest was designed for students in ninth grade and works best with a English class, but it also very useful for history. If tailored slightly this lesson could also work with students in higher level history courses, because it requires the students to think critically and relate historical events to one another. Prior to this lesson, students should have read "The Crucible" in its entirety, and should also have basic knowledge of historical Salem. Students will benefit greatly from understanding that hysteria led to the witch trials and that there no actual witches. It will also be helpful for students to have a basic understanding of McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 1950s. Having this basic historical knowledge will immensely facilitate their comprehension of the tasks.
List PDE standards here.
Academic Standards for History
8.1. Historical Analysis and Skills Development
8.1.9. GRADE 9
8.3. United States History
8.3.6. GRADE 6 specifically part C.
Academic Standards for Civics and Government
5.2. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
5.2.9. GRADE 9
Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
1.2. Reading Critically in All Content Areas
1.2.8. GRADE 8
1.3. Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
1.3.8. GRADE 8
1.4. Types of Writing
1.4.8. GRADE 8
1.5. Quality of Writing
1.5.8. GRADE 8
1.8.8. GRADE 8
Reflection on Standards
8.1.9.: By the end of this webquest students will be able to:
Understand the chronology of historical events. The students will have to create a cause and effect time-line of event leading to the Salem Witch Trials, this will require the students to apply their chronology skills as well as their critical thinking skills.
8.3.6. part C: See how continuity and change has affected United States history, specifically the students will see how belief systems and religion influenced the history of Salem. The student who creates the cause and effect time-line will see how the people of Salem let their religion dictate the future of the accused witches. Also, all the students will see from the play how religion influenced the town of Salem. Also, the students who research the Red Scare of the 1950s will see how American nationalism and fear of communism led to the Red Scare.
5.2.9.: Contrast the essential rights and responsibilities of citizens in systems of government. Specifically the students will have to understand how the theocracy of Salem functioned, and the role the members of the play had in the government.
1.2.8.: Students will have to be able to read critically in all content areas for this lesson. The students will have to understand the websites listed, some of which are primarily historical websites. The students must comprehend the websites in order to complete the research portion of the task.
1.3.8.: Be able to read, analyze and interpret literature. The students will have to read "The Crucible" and place it in its historical context in order to be able to analyze and interpret the play. The student who researches Miller's reasons for writing the play will best be able to interpret the play and see the connection between it and the Red Scare of the 1950s. All the students will have to analyze the positions of the characters in the play, in order to be able to create the dialogue.
1.4.8.: The students are required to write using many different styles for this lesson. If the students are creating the time-line, then they must be able to write concisely and get their point across using less words. The students who are creating the Venn diagram have the same writing style, they must also write concisely. The student who writes the letter to the governor of Salem will have to write either a persuasive letter, which requires a special way of writing; or a memorial letter about an accused person. The memorial letter will have a different tone than the persuasive letter, which requires the student to understand the types of writing.
1.5.8.: Students will meet this standard if they can write with quality. The students should be able to write concisely and clearly. The student's writing should be on-topic and have limited grammatical errors.
1.8.8.: Although the research sites are listed for the students, the students must still try to evaluate the websites, and see if they can gather the important information from the website. The students will have to find the pertinent information and be able to summarize, paraphrase, or quote directly the information from the websites.
For this lesson, students will need access to:
Copies of "The Crucible" by Arther Miller
A computer with internet access
Inspiration will be very helpful for the students who are creating the Venn Diagrams and the Methods of Determining Witches chart
The attachment for the cause and effect time-line, students can either fill it out on the computer or print it out to finish
Word Processing to type up the letter and the script for the dialogue
Also it might be helpful if this lesson is coordinated with a history teacher. If possible having a history teacher available as a resource for the students researching the Red Scare of the 1950s would be very beneficial to the students.
By the end of this lesson, each group will have created a cause and effect time-line, a letter, a Venn diagram, a chart and a script. The first part of the lesson the students are working individually, so each student will be graded on their individual piece. For example, the student in charge of the chart will be graded on how well the student created the chart and filled in the appropriate information.
The lesson will prove to be successful if the students are able to work efficiently on their own as well as in a group. Also, the student should have a good understanding of the topic at hand. Member 1 of each group will have created a cause and effect time-line. This time-line must be in chronological order and must include all events and details of those events. Time-line must show obvious research done by the student. Student must prove how each event caused another and eventually lead to the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials. Member 2 of each group is creating a letter, which must use dialogue of the time and must use persuasive language. Sufficient research must go into the letter, from both the book and outside sources. Letter must be accurate as well. Member 3 of each group will create a chart sorting the methods of testing used to determine whether or not someone was a witch. Chart must include accurate information which the student will find through outside sources that they've researched. Member 4 of each group will have created a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the Salem Witch Trials to the Red Scare of the 1950s. Again, information must be accurate and Venn diagram should be well researched. It should prove that the student has an understanding of both the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare. The student must be able to make parallels between both historical time periods. After each individual aspect of the assignment is done, the students will gather into groups and complete the final part of the project, incorporating all their individual work. Each group will create a dialogue to present to the class, half of the group will be on the side of the accusers and the other half will be on the side of the accused. This dialogue should be accurate to the time period and show that the students have a deep understanding of each sides point of view.