At a glance
In recent years, many are re-examining the role of Christopher Columbus in American history. This engaging lesson will touch on the complexity of this topic without feeding students a definite conclusion. Students will hold a class trial to judge Columbus based on arguments and evidence!
In this lesson, students will:
- Apply their knowledge of the historical events of the arrival of Columbus in the “New World”.
- Analyze these historical events from a critical perspective by performing a mock trial against Columbus.
This lesson plan includes the following resources:
- The Kialo discussion “Was Columbus a hero?”.
- Instructions and research sources for students.
- A discussion containing arguments for and against the thesis, "Was Columbus a hero?".
- Activity instructions (.docx) for the teacher (mock trial).
- Suggestion: Spread this lesson into 3 sessions:
- The students read the materials in the activity and perform initial research.
- Students prepare for the trial.
- Students conduct the trial.
Students should be acquainted with Colonialism. Not necessarily with the details of the various historical colonizations, but with the key concepts involved when a country is colonized (colony, slavery, colonizer, etc).
Critical thinking tips
Encourage your students to be prepared not only to offer good arguments but also to anticipate counter-arguments and prepare adequate rebuttals.
- Have students gathered enough information? Is this information relevant?
- Have students collaborated? Did they rely on their peers' research?