This web resource from Discovery Education helps students analyze the significance of the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600s through a study of several primary and secondary source materials. While synthesizing the information from these documents with details present in Arthur Miller's commentary on a 20th-century phenomenon, the hunting of communists as if they were witches, students will recognize the lasting impact of the hysteria. After reading Miller's The Crucible, students will modernize a key scene according to rubric guidelines provided on the site.
In this lesson, students investigate and answer the central historical question: What caused the Salem Witch Crisis of 1692? After brainstorming and learning some background context for the witch trials, pairs of students read and answer sourcing questions for 2 primary sources: a Cotten Mather speech and the testimony of Abigail Hobbs, a teenager accused of witchcraft. After they draw preliminary conclusions, students are then given 2 more documents—a chart and a map—which ground the witch trials in an economic and geographic context. Students ultimately draw on all 4 documents to explain the witch trials' cause in writing, and then share their conclusions with the class.
Type: Lesson Plan
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