Bringing Salem Witch Trials to life
Last year, students brought the Salem Witch Trials to life in TCEC’s Law & Order project. The rationale behind this project was to teach students how to solve problems, think critically, debate, and communicate through a hands-on trial. Students used the trials to argue their cases, which included the Zodiac Killer, Salem Witch Trials, and the Lost Colony. The students actually went to the courthouse in downtown Murphy to determine who was and wasn't guilty.
When debating, they had to anticipate what the other person was going to say and challenge it to make their own cases stronger. Students connected their classes through labs and artifacts from the crime scenes that were used to hold up their arguments for their defendant.
Last month, I visited Salem, Massachusetts, where the famous witch trials were held. While I was there, tour guides gave a lot of information on explaining what the trials were and how they started. I learned from that tour is that innocent people were accused of witchcraft by three young girls. These girls had heard stories about witchcraft from their maid. Hearing these stories, the girls started to believe that it was all real. The people that were accused of witchcraft were burned alive, hanged, and sometimes even stoned to death. After many years had passed, the girls finally admitted that all of the witch stories were false.
Later this year, students will again become a part of mock trials in a repeat of the Law and Order project. Having the students take trips and do projects about it gives them new experiences to be involved in real life situations. Learning this way makes it more engaging and interesting for students to learn as opposed to them just learning the basic facts.