Reflecting on Your Practice
- What topics or issues in your own teaching curriculum might lend themselves to role playing or re-enactment?
- What are some ways you and your students might analyze a complex issue or case?
- Consider how your class differs from Mr. Fisher's. How would you introduce role playing and re-enactment to your own students?
Taking It Back to Your Classroom
- Have students trace the rights African Americans have gained since the Amistad case. Ask students to collect articles or cite examples of the progress (or lack thereof) African Americans or other groups have made as a result of court decisions (for example, the recent request of African Americans for reparations).
- Ask students to read the transcript or ruling of a trial in African American history. Have students identify the major questions, issues, evidence, arguments, outcomes, and consequences.
- View the movie Amistad in your class and compare its depiction of the case with the actual trial transcript.
- Choose a Supreme Court decision that is relevant to your curriculum, and have the class research and re-enact the trial. Invite a member of your local state bar association to watch and critique a mock trial presented by your class.
- Ask students to think about how they would present a court case in a movie, as was done with the Amistad case. What scenes are important to show? How should they be arranged and staged? How would students balance the importance of maintaining historical accuracy with the desire for a good story line?
- Ask students, "Who owns history?" Invite them to explore the court case surrounding the DreamWorks production of the Amistad movie and an author's claim of copyright infringement.
For related print materials and Web sites, see Resources.