One of my all-time favorite topics in history stemmed from the night of March 5, 1770; The Boston Massacre. There was so much happening around this event, which makes it such a riveting topic for your students. There were colonists feeling as though they were being unfairly taxed, the King of England authorizing a standing army in the American colonies, and a prominent lawyer and patriot, John Adams, voluntarily risking his life, his profession, and his place in history by representing Captain Preston and the British guards who were on trial for murder.
In this lesson your students will view an edited version of the HBO mini-series, John Adams, and will decide the fate of Captain Preston and the British guards by choosing a verdict and completing a CER (Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning) assignment as a final task. CER is probably something you've heard quite a bit of talk about in your district and maybe haven't quite found the right topic to allow your students to try one. Well, here you go!
I teach 50-minute class periods and am able to complete the viewing, and explanation of the CER to my students in one class period. Students then have time to begin their CER before the class period is over and then have time to finish outside of school or during class the next day. Click the image below to get this resource for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
What is nice about using CER in a Social Studies classroom is that this process helps students practice the skill of making a claim that they then support with evidence. We participate in National History Day each year where students create a project about a topic in history following a common theme. For example, the theme for 2020 is "Breaking Barriers." Students will have to develop a thesis and support that thesis with evidence they discover through their research. Using the CER method helps them make the National History Project a little easier for them to back up their thesis.
As a follow-up activity to the Boston Massacre Trial you might be interested in having your students analyze "The Bloody Massacre" by Paul Revere or recreate Revere's iconic image. Click the images below to find these resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies