Penalty High School Curriculum Web Site
to visit the TEACHER web site.
to visit the STUDENT web site.
Content Experts: Richard Dieter, Michael Millman
Director of Software Development: Carrie Heeter
Team: Matt Leach, Deon Foster, Pete Maziak, Laura Portwood-Stacer
The death penalty in the United States has always
been a controversial issue and recent developments concerning the
death penalty have once again made an appearance in the public sphere.
The purpose of this curriculum is to encourage civic participation,
critical thinking and the development of research skills among students
utilizing a topic of current interest. This Web site and its accompanying
materials are designed to assist both teachers and students in an
exploration of capital punishment, arguments for and against its
use, as well as issues of ethics and justice that surround it. The
authors of the curriculum have made every effort to ensure that
the educational approach is balanced, respecting the views of all
sides in this often-spirited debate.
The sites were principally designed by the Michigan
State Communication Technology Laboratory. Parallel site structures
for teachers and students allowed us to optimize the content for
ease of use in the classroom. Teacher educators in conjunction with
practicing teachers, in the fields of social studies, history and
religion, worked together to develop the curriculum. Factual content
was provided by the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit
organization that conducts research on issues related to capital
punishment. The Center utilized a broad spectrum of case decisions,
news accounts, books, and scholarly journals in assembling the content.
Funding for the project was provided by grants from the Soros Foundation
and the Columbia Foundation.
The Death Penalty Information high school curriculum
site has received numerous awards and recognitions, for educational
value, high quality content, and high quality site design.
-- Surfer's Choice award
-- Cool Site of the Day award
-- Web Author's Choice award
-- selected as a member of the GEM Gateway Consortium of Internet-based
educational materials, received a
-- 5 star rating from Pacific Bell's Blue Web'n Library of Educational
Resources, as well as a
-- Lightspan StudyWeb award, and
-- Awesome Library Editor's Choice recognition as being among the
top 5% of educational sites on the web
-- Busy Educator Award
-- selected by the American Bar Association Division for Public
Education to use as the core curriculum for their 2001 annual National
Online Summit for 50 participating high schools.
ABOUT THE SITE
|Teachers will find
detailed lesson plans for two possible two-week units. However,
teachers are encouraged to take a look at the rationales of
the units and explore strategies of their own. Supplementary
research materials and Internet links to a wide array of other
resources are provided. The curriculum is designed for upper
middle and high school students in such courses as social studies,
history, civics, US Government, ethics, public speaking, and
find an innovative and interactive Web site that is ideally
suited for classroom use involving group work, class discussions,
and independent reflection. However, students doing independent
projects may also use the site. The STUDENT SITE is located
at deathpenaltyinfo.msu.edu. It has the same structure and contents
as this TEACHER EDITION, except the student site omits teacher
overviews and unit plans.
|The curriculum encourages on-line
student involvement in activities that closely resemble the
experiences of ordinary citizens encountering this issue. The
simulations are designed so students can actively participate
in democratic decision-making. For example, they can take part
in a mock legislative hearing, do research using the site, and
then engage in a role play offering testimony on the death penalty
from multiple points of view. They also will have the opportunity
to serve on a jury to decide between a life sentence and the
death penalty in scenarios based on actual cases. Both units
provided on the site also contain a heavy emphasis on persuasive
writing and speech.
We have provided two sample units plans
to maximize the use of the site. Each of the units involves an extensive
amount of group work, simulations, persuasive and individual essay
writing, and class participation. These units have also been designed
with the current NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies)
Standards in mind. They are designed to be comprehensive two-week
units, but elements of either unit may be used in your current plans.
Alternative units, or suggestions and comments on the existing units,