NPR and "This American Life" helped to create one of the most intriguing podcasts of all time. An investigation into the unanswered questions about the murder of a Maryland high school student in 1999, this podcast provides students opportunities to evaluate data and create an argument regarding which of the "characters" is telling the actual truth about what happened the day teenager, Hae Min Lee, was killed.
This fully-customizable Word document download presupposes that your students have regular access to technology. It was designed for use with a class of students in a school where all students receive laptops. If you have regular access to Chromebooks, iPads, or a computer lab, though, that would help you greatly, though the project can easily be modified to use in a classroom with absolutely no access to technology other than the teacher's computer connected to a speaker so all students might hear the audio of the podcast episodes.
The project itself requires students to design a website or blog. You can customize the project, however, to be a poster, report or other lower-tech product if that is what works best for your class.
A complete rubric is included in the materials.
The running time for this project was two school weeks (10 class days) for a classroom running on classes with 80-minute periods. However, you can adjust the timeline to suit your needs.
The original project required students to listen to episodes of the podcast in class. However, teachers could require listening to the episodes outside of class if they have the technology to do so and if you'd like to move more quickly through the project. You can organize the episodes in a way that works best for you.
Here is how the episodes were divided for play during classtime:
Day 1, Episode 1 (54 minutes of playtime)
Day 2, Episodes 2 and 3 (65 total minutes of playtime)
Day 3, Episode 4 (34 minutes)
Day 4, Episode 5 (43 minutes)
Day 5, Episodes 6 and 7 (77 total minutes)
Day 6, Episode 8 (44 minutes)
Day 7, Episode 9 (45 minutes)
Day 8, Episode 10 (54 minutes)
Day 9, Episode 11 (41 minutes)
Day 10, Episode 12 (56 minutes)