Lesson #1--Setting the Stage: Historical Context and the Law

Subject: English— Drama: Twelve Angry Men
Title: Lesson 1—Setting the Stage: Historical Context and the Law
Grade: ENG 3C1
Time Frame: 75-150 minutes

Curricular Expectations:
  • Reading and Literature Studies:
    • Reading For Meaning: (1.3) identify the most important ideas and supporting details in texts; (1.4) make and explain inferences about texts, supporting their explanations with well-chosen stated and implied ideas from the text;
    • Reading with Fluency: (3.3) identify and use a variety of strategies to expand vocabulary.

  • Writing:
    • Developing and Organizing Content: (1.2) generate, expand, explore, and focus ideas for potential writing tasks, using a variety of strategies in print, electronic, and other resources; (1.3) locate and select information to appropriately support ideas.

  • Media:
    • Creating Media Texts: (3.4) produce media texts for a variety of purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques.

Lesson Expectations:
  • Students will activate their prior knowledge of juries and jury duty by engaging in an interactive brainstorm activity with the whole class.
  • Students will be introduced to the historical context of the play and the origin of law in a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Students will complete a virtual treasure hunt activity, whereby they engage in active research on various websites to extend understanding of jury duty.

Anticipatory Set: (15 minutes)
Interactive Brainstorm on “What is a Jury?”
-The teacher introduces the drama unit by uploading the following TWO images and opening up the web 2.0 application, “Edistorm,” which is an interactive post-it style brainstorm webpage.
-Students will view the image and engage in class discussion about possible inferences about what a jury is, how it is made up, and what it does.
juryduty1.jpg juryduty2.jpg


Procedure/Instructional Sequence: (50 minutes)
Introduction to Twelve Angry Men PowerPoint


Setting the Stage: The Charge to the Jury Clip
-The teacher uploads an introductory presentation for the play.
-The teacher discusses the opening slide, which houses a picture of the scales of justice and asks students to make inferences.
-The teacher reviews the agenda of the presentation.

-Sections discussed in the PowerPoint:
  1. Historical Context: Live Television Drama in the 1950s
  2. Author: Reginald Rose
  3. History on Twelve Angry Men
  4. History of Criminal Law:
· Early Juries
· Selection of a Jury
· Function of a Jury
· Law of Evidence (Burden of Proof, Relevance, Hearsay, Witnesses)

5. About the Play
6. Setting the Stage (film trailer with the judge giving the charge of responsibility to the jury)
Virtual Treasure Hunt:
Exploring Jury Duty
-The teacher hands out the worksheet “Jury Duty Virtual Treasure Hunt” and students log onto computers and begin conducting various research to extend their understanding of jury duty;
-Students are permitted to work in pairs and will visit the three websites listed on the top of the worksheet to get them started:
-Canadian Jury Duty: http://www.canadianlawsite.ca/jury-duty.htm#a
-Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/jury/general_jury_duty_info.asp
-Jury Duty Video Clips: http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/publications/generale/jure-a.htm
-Legal Dictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/

-The teacher hands out envelopes that contain various words/concepts and puts students into small groups of 3-4.
-Students must develop a mind map or spidermap circling around the idea of a “CASE” with the subtopics of:
  • Defense
  • Prosecution
  • Jury
  • Judge
  • Accused
  • Testimony
  • Judge
-Students will fill-in the mind map/spidermap with the various vocabulary in order to extend/deepen their understanding of a criminal case, which is what the play is about.