Lesson #4: What is Reasonable Doubt? Reviewing and Exploring the "Evidence"

Subject: English— Drama: Twelve Angry Men
Title: Lesson 4—What is Reasonable Doubt? Reviewing and Exploring the “Evidence”
Grade: ENG 3C1
Time Frame: 75-150 minutes

Curricular Expectations:
  • Oral Communication:
    • Listening to Understand: (1.2) select and use appropriate active listening strategies when participating in a variety of classroom interactions; (1.3) select and use appropriate listening comprehension strategies before, during, and after listening;
    • Speaking to Communicate: (2.3) communicate in a clear, coherent manner, using a structure and style appropriate to the purpose, subject matter, and intended audience; (2.5) identify a variety of vocal strategies, including tone, pace, pitch, and volume, and use them appropriately.
  • Reading and Literature Studies:
    • Reading For Meaning: (1.4) make and explain inferences about texts, supporting their explanations with well-chosen stated and implied ideas from the text; (1.6) analyse texts in terms of the information, ideas, issues, and themes they explore, examining how various aspects of the texts contribute to the presentation or development of these ideas; (1.8) identify and analyse the perspectives and/or biases within the text, and comment on any questions they may raise about beliefs, values, identity and power;
    • Reflecting on Skills and Strategies: (4.2) identify a variety of their skills in listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and representing and explain how the skills help them more effectively.
  • 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;
    • Using Knowledge of Form and Style: (2.7) produce revised drafts of texts written to meet criteria.
  • 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 analyse a film clip for elements of reasonable doubt;
  • Students will read the play aloud in true character form;
  • Students will review and examine the various cases of reasonable doubt within the play and complete a graphic organizer with textual evidence and outcomes;
  • Students will complete a digital journal response in blog-form and respond to at least two peers’ responses about the selected topic within the wikispace.

Anticipatory Set: (10 minutes)

Making Inferences
-The teacher opens up the PowerPoint presentation and clicks on the second slide which contains the following cartoon, Adam, from Brian Basset.
-The teacher asks students to make some inferences as to the meaning behind the cartoon.


Procedure/Instructional Sequence: (50 minutes)

What is Reasonable Doubt? PowerPoint
-The teacher continues with the PowerPoint presentation on “What is Reasonable Doubt”? which explores the burden of proof, unanimous vs. majority votes, the Rule of Law, verdicts and acquittals, and what a hung jury is.

Reasonable Doubt in Action:
Viewing Boston Legal Episode Clip
-The teacher then puts reasonable doubt into action by playing a clip from Boston Legal, an American legal drama/comedy show, season 4, episode 2 “The Innocent Man.”
-16:42-21:00 impressions on jury from the defense, questioning the husband of the deceased;
-23:43-26:39 accused on the stand, again with the impressions on the jury;
-*29:46-34:37 closing arguments from prosecution and defense*
-The teacher shows at least the last 5 minute clip and students listen/observe the defense’s closing argument carefully, then the teacher plays it again and the students write down the instances of “reasonable doubt” brought about by the defense lawyer.
-see attached transcript of episode with highlighted sections of the 4 instances of reasonable doubt

Read Aloud:
-Selected students continue to read aloud their parts (jurors) and practice effective speaking strategies to truly represent their characters.
-The teacher pauses for comprehension and reflection, addressing literary issues and important details.
Reviewing the Evidence
Juror no. 8’s Tactics
-The teacher offers guided instruction when reviewing the various instances of reasonable doubt within the play;
-The teacher hands out the “Reasonable Doubt and Tactics” organizer and students will complete the sections as we review the play for pieces of reasonable doubt. The teacher leads students through a few of the instances, then has the option to move to collaboration, having students work in small groups to discover the other instances;
-To tier this activity, or offer more scaffolding support, the teacher can choose to insert pieces of information, such as the Acts or page numbers of where students can find the information.

Blog Response
-Students use the blogging feature on the class wikispace to post their thoughts on the following topic, then students must respond to at least TWO other classmates’ responses:

How is reasonable doubt a safeguard of enormous value for Canadian citizens? Explain.
Extension Activities:
Create a
Mash-up using MASHER
  1. Students can create an audio/video/visual mash-up of events within the play (using either images, text, footage) and set it to music (one song, approximately 3-4 minutes) that showcases all the instances of reasonable doubt examined;
  2. Students can view another episode of Boston Legal and create a mash-up (using footage and text from episode transcripts) to showcase the various instances of reasonable doubt within criminal cases.


*Alternate episodes:

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