This is a persuasive report meant to accompany the Robert Redford film The Conspirator, which can be viewed in conjunction with book study on the nonfiction book Chasing Lincoln's Killer. The Conspirator looks at the assassination of Lincoln and the subsequent trial of the first woman executed by the government in American history, Mary Surratt.
This activity has the students role play as lawyers advising the judges on the military tribunal and has them provide evidence for Mary Surratt's guilt or innocence, as they see fit. Then, they must refute the claims of the opposing side and suggest a fate for Mary Surratt. The students are filling in a persuasive essay "skeleton" to help scaffold the skills of creating a persuasive argument.