The Salem Witch Trials Grade Level: 6-7 United States History Time Required: Two forty-minute periods Lesson Summary: This lesson focuses on the period of time leading up and including The Salem Witch Trials. It also makes the connection between the events that took place during this time and the book The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, which students have read in LAL. Objectives: Students will be able to: 1. Analyze the events that took place during the Salem Witch Trials. 2. Compare and contrast the viewpoints of the Puritans and the individuals that were accused of witchcraft. 3. Compose a letter to defending their point-of-view supported with factual information. BINARY PAIDEIA Puritans Late 17th Century Accused Witch Colonial Law and Church Politeia/Regime Colonial Law and possible Doctrine. Church law. Church leaders/ chosen Politeuma/Ruling Class Church leaders and wealthy church members and land owners. wealthy land owners. The Bible and how the Paideia/What makes a Had to stand alone to depend individual interpreted the society what it is themselves in a court of Bible. Followed by law/public. colonial/state constitution. To make sure that their Virtue/ The highest moral Live their life freely. Get a community was living by the excellence fair trial and be heard. standards of God. Do Now Activity: List 5 of the most important events that took place in The Witch of Blackbird Pond. How do you feel when you are accused of doing something wrong that you know you have not done? What is your initial reaction? How do you go about correcting the situation? (c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. Key Terms: accusation n. A charge of wrongdoing magistrate n. A civil officer charged with the administration of the law Puritans n. a religious denomination of Christianity witchcraft n. Magic, sorcery Historical Background for the Teachers: Salem, Massachusetts has always been an unusual town with a unique history. It began with residents who were widely divided. Families from the western side of town wanted to become a separate town and not be associated with Salem Village anymore. The people who wanted to be separate felt that the town’s success created an individualistic society. That went against their religious beliefs. On the eastern side of the village, families generally wanted to remain part of Salem. Rev. Samuel Parris formed a church in 1689. Many people were unhappy with this development because his congregation met in the Salem Village Meeting House. The community members who were especially displeased with this arrangement were residents who wanted to continue to be a part of Salem Town. In October 1691, a new Salem Village Committee was elected. The politicians that were placed into office were mainly people who opposed Parris. Parris began to worry about losing his job and his biggest supporters, the Putnams shared this fear. In 1692, several members of Parris’ family seemed to suffer from an illness that manifested itself in the form of fits. The fits were described as more powerful than Epileptic seizures. The two young girls who suffered from the illness were Betty Parris (Parris’ daughter) and Abigail Williams (Parris’ niece). They would throw things and scream. Parris asked William Griggs, the town doctor, to examine the young girls. Rev. Parris was a Puritan Minister. Puritans believe in witches and thought that they could really hurt others. The young girls were questioned about witches within the community and three names surfaced: Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good, and Tituba. Sarah Osborne and Sarah Good were questioned by the Magistrate, but continued to declare their innocence. Tituba, on the other hand, confessed to witchcraft. It is not known why Tituba claimed she was a witch. All three women were sent to jail. Sarah Osborne passed away while in jail. Ann Putnam accused several people of witchcraft. These individuals were: Martha Corey, Rebecca Nurse, and George Burroughs. Burroughs was the most surprising of the allegations because he was a former Salem Village minister. People started to doubt the claims. Even though the girls were not believed by all individuals, the trials resulted in nineteen hangings and one death by crushing rocks. The last trial was in January 1693. Governor Phips ended the trials by pardoning the remaining accused in May 1693. Procedures: I. Previous Night’s Homework A) Finish reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare II. Day of Lesson Procedure A) Review the Binary Paideia with the Students. Clarify the relationship between Puritans and the beliefs of the accused living in the colonies during the 1600s. B) Complete Do Now and review students’ responses. C) Review the notes students took while reading the book. Analyze student response to the book. D) Discuss background information with the students. (c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. E) Students will compile a compare/ contrast graphic organizer consisting of the information gathered through discussion and reading regarding the accuracy of the Witch of Blackbird Pond to that of primary historical sources depicting the Salem Witch Trials. F) Ask the following questions: Why do you think the Salem Witch Trials were permitted to occur? Do you think that they would have occurred at any other period of time? Why or why not? How would you have reacted if you were placed in the position of the accuser or the position of an accused? Do you fill that those accused were given a fair trial? If not how could one assure that a person is given a fair trial. G) After comparing the different lifestyles of those associated with the Salem Witch Trials ask the students to write a reactionary piece to the local Salem, Massachusetts newspaper during the late 17th century. Ask the students to state their beliefs on whether they found the processes of the Salem Witch trials to be fair or unfair, as well as to support their opinion based on factual evidence. Homework: Students should finish their essays/ letters to the editor. Assessment: >Through their charts and essays, students will demonstrate their knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials. Extension: Higher level students may challenge themselves by reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller. This play is a dramatic interpretation of the events that took place. Ask the students to research local history to see if witchcraft and trials against it were held within the surrounding areas and compare them to those that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts. Resources: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare Venn Diagram Author of Lesson: Pamela Isaacs and Frederick McCarrick Mountainside School District (c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. Compare and Contrast Directions: Compare and contrast the differences between the Witch of Blackbird Pond and that of the Salem Witch Trials. (c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C.
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