Lesson Plan : To Kill a Mockingbird - Debating the Tom Robinson Case

Teacher Name:
 M. I. Friedman
Grade:
 Grade 11-12
Subject:
 Literature Activities

Topic:
 Debating the Tom Robinson Case
Content:
 Lesson affords the students the opportunity to practice their skills of persuasion, by debating whether Atticus should defend Tom Robinson.
Goals:
 Aim: How can we use a classroom debate to determine whether Atticus should defend Tom Robinson? Outcomes: Through a classroom debate, the students will determine whether it is advisable for Atticus to defend Tom Robinson--a Negro--against a charge of raping a white girl.
Objectives:
 Students will be able to prepare a pro/con argument for a debate of whether Atticus should take on the Robinson case; the students will participate in a group debate. (This lesson will probably extend for two or more days)
Materials:
 To Kill a Mockingbird
Introduction:
 Quick Write: Pretend that you are a citizen of the town of Maycomb. You just read an editorial indicating whether or not Atticus Finch should defend Tom Robinson. On which side of the controversy would you be? Why would you be on that side?
Practice:
 Day One: Break the class into two groups. One group will present arguments in favor of Atticus defending Tom Robinson. Day Two: Conduct the debate. Each group is to have two main speakers, who will start the debate. Select two students to act as judges, who will give an unbiased opinion of each team's handling of the debate.
Checking For Understanding:
 1. During the debate, the two judges will have a scoring sheet, on which they will award points, according to their unbiased assessment of the team's points. 2. Teacher will also be keeping score. As the main judge, the teacher will determine whether any unsporting behavior has occurred.
Closure:
 1. After announcing the winner of the debate, ask the students to offer their response to the debate. 2. Ask look over their "Quick Write" response, from Day One. Ask if any of them have changed their point of view as a result of the debate. Have those students explain why they changed their opinion.
Evaluation:
 1. Students ability to work with their team to present a clear, and persuasive argument. 2. Students sportsman like behavior. 3. The degree to which the students persuaded the judges, based upon an average of the three judges' scores.

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