Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

Salem Witch Trials trailers

Students will engage in interactive activities that will put them in the shoes of a Salem Witch Trial victim. They will then create a trailer for a movie about the Salem Witch Trials.
Samantha S.
Classroom teacher
Armona Union Academy
Armona, United States
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My Subjects Math, Social Studies, Health & Wellness

The students will analyze historical facts and make inferences pertaining to the thoughts of those involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

The students will identify the key people involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

The students will explain what caused the hysteria behind the Salem Witch Trials.

The students will create their own movie trailer summarizing events in a logical and appealing manner.

Social Studies
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Engage

The teacher will have the video “Scholastic-Action Magazine: What happened in Salem?” ready for students to watch (this could be on a projector or a link sent to students emails). The video, which introduces the Salem Witch Trials, will be played for students. Once the video is finished the teacher will lead a short discussion on what the students just watched. The teacher will also ask students for questions they may have after watching the video. These questions should be answered in the coming lesson.

2 Explore

The teacher will have emailed students a link to the National Geographic Salem Witch Trial interactive website. Students will be instructed to go to the website and explore.

Student Instructions

Students will go to the website emailed to them and explore the website. They will read the Introduction and Prologue section and then start the game. Once they have finished the game they will read the Epilogue and go back to their groups.

3 Explain

Activity: Conversing

Instruct students to get into their groups and discuss what they have just experienced. If the teacher sees that students need some guidance for their discussion s/he can prompt students with questions (examples below). Once they are done the teacher will call on each group and have them share one interesting thing they learned. The teacher will facilitate a discussion and clarify the content when the need arises.

Sample Questions: How did it feel to be accused of being a witch? Did you confess to witchcraft or not? Why would someone decide to confess? What caused the hysteria in Salem? Etc.

Student Instructions

Students will get together and discuss the interactive lesson. They will choose one interesting thing they learned to share with the class.

4 Elaborate

The teacher will have made sure each group has at least one student with an iPhone or iPad. Each group will be given a rubric and a set of roles and responsibilities for the project. Students will need to assign someone to each role.

Rubric should include: Students are expected to create a trailer demonstrating their understanding of the Salem Witch Trials. It should include the main people involved in the event. The trailer should feature scenes from the important moments of this event; the accusations, the trials, and the executions. Each group will have an official director, this is the only student who does not have to be in front of the camera (although they are may if the story needs the extra person). The director and another student will also serve as editors of the final product.

Student roles are: at least two accusers (preferably girls), Tituba, a judge, a confessed witch, a minister (optional). All other students can be accused witches or other key figures.

Student Instructions

Students will create a movie trailer using iMovie. Using the “Trailer” function of iMovie, groups will create a 2-minute trailer for a movie about the Salem Witch Trials. All students must participate in the filming of the trailer. See above for student roles.

5 Evaluate

Once students have finished their trailers, have each group sign up for a time slot to present and make sure all trailers have been turned in before presentations begin.

Student Instructions

Students will email, or AirDrop, their trailer to the teacher and sign up for a presentation time. When it is their turn to present, groups will come to the front of the class and introduce their trailer, then play the trailer for the class.