The Crucible—Comprehensive Unit-- Comprehension, Analysis, Creative, and Collaborative Activities
“Although it was written in 1953, Arthur Miller’s drama holds particular significance in the current political environment….” (Douglas Rintoul The Guardian).
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as a reaction to the McCarthy Trials, unjust attacks against people believed to be associated with Communism.
The universal motifs in the play such as deceit, reputation, integrity, justice, and hysteria make excellent talking points about our contemporary society.
This unit of resources for The Crucible includes diversified activities for comprehension, analysis, and synthesis of the play.
The collection is teacher-tested and student-approved.
The resources were created with Word 2016 and PowerPoint, so each is customizable for your class.
There are resources for individual student evaluation and many opportunities for student collaboration.
Included in the unit:
Colonial America- Introduction to the Puritan Age PowerPoint Presentation
• An introduction to the Puritan age, perfect for providing exposition for The Crucible.
• There are 41 slides and over 45 graphics and maps.
• Literary excerpts
Please click here to see a detailed description and preview of the presentation:
Introduction to the Colonial Period Presentation
Act 1 Questions for Comprehension and Analysis and Annotation of Dramatic Exposition Activity
• Students read, analyze, and annotate the dramatic exposition in Act 1
• Dramatic exposition is reproduced; students highlight and write comments about the text on the handout.
• There are 63 tasks requiring students to
---define terms, and
---analyze plot and character.
• Students paraphrase each paragraph on lines provided on the handout.
• There are 88 questions (some questions within questions)
requiring students' close reading of Act 1.
• The resource could also be used as a discussion guide or a very detailed reading check.
• Questions cover:
---The girls' indiscretion in the forest
---Characterization of the main characters
---Contention among Salem townspeople
---The pros and cons of there being witchcraft in Salem
---The interrogation of Tituba and the girls
---The flurry of accusations
Act 2 Questions for Comprehension and Analysis
• 61 questions (some questions with questions within the questions)
• There are questions requiring varying levels of higher order thinking
• Topics include:
---John and Elizabeth Proctor's relationship
---Mary Warren's report about court activities
---John's inner-conflict resulting from his adultery
----Reverend Hale's disassociation and defense of the court
---The poppet and the evidence against Elizabeth
----The arrests of Rebecca, Martha, and Elizabeth
---John's vow to bring his wife home
---Speculation on how John Proctor will approach the court
Act 3 Questions for Comprehension and Analysis
• 50 questions (some questions have questions within the questions)
The focus is on:
Act 4 Questions for Comprehension and Analysis
• 52 questions (some questions with questions within the question)
• There are two charts and one simple graphic organizer to diversify activities.
• Some questions require recall and check comprehension, other questions require higher order thinking and analysis.
• Many questions provide a quote for examination or require the student to provide a quote as illustration of his response
All act activities include a detailed answer key.
Sources for Evaluation of Student Learning:
Act 1 Essay Prompt
• One prompt addresses the opportunity that the people of Salem had to publicly air long-standing jealousy and accuse neighbors whom they disliked.
• The second prompt notes the possible reasons for Parris's outrage and concern over Betty's illness.
• The last two prompts question students' impressions of the Putnams and Reverend Hale and what each of these characters stand to gain during the trials.
Final Objective Test and Key
• There are 4 multiple choice questions about the history of the witch trials and a question about the metaphor for McCarthyism.
• There are 45 multiple choice questions for Acts 1 and 2.
• These questions are on various depth of knowledge levels.
• Some questions include a quote from the text for analysis.
• There are then 10 quotes or situations from Act 3 requiring students to
• explain the irony.
• Following this are 10 questions about the final act including questions about plot, characterization, motive, and quote analysis.
Final Analysis and Reflection Essay
• There are three prompts from which to choose.
• Each prompt has an analysis component followed by relevant reflection questions.
• The topics of the prompts are:
----the development of Proctor's character and reflection on heroism,
----the townspeople's and judges' willingness to believe the accusations and a reflection on
taking advantage of situations for one's personal gain, and the
----sacrifices that the characters make to restore social order with reflection questions about
sacrifice and developing integrity.
• Included with the prompts is the essay organizer that my students use to pre-write (a bonus!).
Creative Activities and Opportunities for Student Collaboration:
PROJECT #1 DANGEROUS IDEOLOGY THROUGHOUT HISTORY—
GROUP RESEARCH AND PRESENTATION PROJECT
• The project is a great way for kids to apply their understanding of the literature to real world events.
• This activity focuses on the rigid ideology of the Puritans as portrayed in The Crucible and by the accusers during the McCarthy trials.
• There is a brief discussion of the theme, “dangerous ideology."
• There is a subsequent discussion of other times in history where we can observe ideology falling into corruption and tyranny.
• The group project requires students to research people or events in history that illustrate rigid ideology becoming corrupt and tyrannical.
RESEARCHED FORMAL SPEECH
• This researched formal speech activity requires students to research The Second Red Scare and McCarthyism, take notes, outline, cite sources, and prepare and deliver a formal speech.
• I use this as an introduction to our studying Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
• The activity includes fundamental information about McCarthyism and a brief discussion of how Miller created The Crucible, a play about Salem's witch trials as an allegory for America in the early 1950's.
• Included are 25 possible research topics from which students can choose.
---The Cold War,
---Edward R Murrow,
---J. Edgar Hoover.
• Included is information on reading, researching, and citing information.
• A speech outline template is provided.
• There is general discussion on speech delivery: voice, eye contact, gestures, etc.
• A grading rubric is provided.
A CREATIVE WRITING “TABLOID” ACTIVITY
• This is a project that I assign after reading and discussing Act 3 of The Crucible; however, it can be used at any point after that.
• The project begins with a brief discussion of how scandalous Proctor and Abby's affair would be to the citizens of Salem in 1692.
• Following that is a discussion of how people in our society are intrigued by scandal and are drawn to tabloids that reveal the mishaps and misfortunes of celebrities.
• I've included an excerpt that discusses tabloid circulation numbers and the transition from print media to TV and Internet as a source of rumor collection.
• Students are assigned the task of creating a Puritan tabloid.
• They must include title, headlines, and bylines.
• They must discuss the events of Salem using Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How. (I provide a chart to help them organize their information.)
• They must also include their speculation about the fall-out from the revelation of John and Abby's affair.
• Students are asked to include three minor articles after reviewing the play through Act three including dramatic exposition and dialogue to determine topics (land-lust, working on the Sabbath, etc.)
• Students are required to include graphics.
• There are remarks about recognizing one's audience where students are told to maintain decorum suitable to Puritan sensibilities; maintain a tone in both words and graphics that is appropriate for a school assignment.
• Students may submit page(s) or a poster.
• I include a sample front page.
• This assignment includes a grading rubric and graphics.
Finally, there is a PowerPoint Presentation discussing the historical accuracy of the play:
• To begin, there is a Miller quote in which he comments on the historical accuracy of his play and screenplay.
• There are 21 slides providing the historical account of the witch trials.
• Following are 22 slides pointing out historical discrepancies in the play and in the movie.
• Finally, there are two slides with discussion prompts regarding Miller's reasons for straying from history.
• Each slide has a relevant graphic.
• There is a total of 59 interesting graphics.
Bought separately in my store, these resources cost $52; here, bundled, the price is discounted to $40.
If you are interested in purchasing any resource individually or you would like to see these listed resources with further detail and preview, please click below:
O's The Crucible Store
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