This is an exercise in close reading and persuasive writing using specific textual evidence. This is designed to be done after reading Ch. 4 of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
This slide show/writing activity gives the legal definitions (and examples) of 1st and 2nd degree murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, and self-defense. In CCSS form, students are asked to close read, annotate, and then write a well-structured paragraph. The last slide includes a writing rubric that can be copied into a word processing document.
Students love the "bonus" learning of legal definitions and prison sentencing, though it's easy to get lost in the "what if" scenarios students suggest. I think it's especially important for students to learn the consequences of involuntary manslaughter.
The slide show and beginning the writing task takes a 45 minute class period.
Criminal sentencing information given is for California, but can be easily removed from the slides. A quick internet search should reveal state sentencing guidelines for murder and manslaughter.