Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother 40 whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one...
If it's true that someone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, how can I prove that Lizzie Borden is innocent or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?
This 19th century true crime story continues to be debated even now, over 100 years later! Consider the evidence. Examine the trial's transcripts. Scrutinize the people involved in the events surrounding this case. Based on your findings, you must convince the jury to convict or acquit Lizzie Borden.
Did Lizzie Borden literally get away with murder?
You will be divided into groups and then assigned to either be prosecutors or defendants. You will conduct individual investigations before working together as a team to compose a closing argument. Students in each group will be assigned the same task except for the fourth question.
Question one is to be completed by the "reporter":
Analyze the people involved in the case. Construct a character sketch of each person including family members, neighbors, Lizzie, and the prosecuting and defending attornies...anyone who is pertinent to the case.
Question two is to be completed by the "attorney":
Examine the trial transcript. Look at the testimony given by witnesses. Summarize each person's testimony. Include quotes of any testimony that you feel is important to your case.
Question three is to be completed by the "examiner":
Re-construct the sequence of events by creating a time line of the days leading up to and the actual day of the murder.
Question four is to be completed by all members of the team AFTER your individual investigations. Work together to PROVE that your client is innocent or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt! To complete question four, you may want to examine trial testimony as well as forensic reports.
A. If you are on the defense team: Give possible motives of others. Create reasonable doubt for Lizzie to be found guilty.
B. If you are on the prosectution team:What facts can you provide to establish proof of Lizzie's innocence?
After conducting individual investigations, you will work together as either a prosecution or defense team. You will compose a closing argument which will be presented to a "jury". Your closing arguments should be written in the form of a persuasive essay. The "jury" will determine Lizzie's guilt or innocence.
Very Good 3
Effort (individual grade)
The student used only one source or did not document any sources to gather information.
The student used two to three sources to gather information.
The student used a variety of materials to gather information.
The student used four or more sources to gather information.
Accuracy (group work)
Information presented was not based on fact. No documentation was included.
All information was factual. Most information was documented correctly.
All information was factual. All facts and information were documented to avoid plagiarism.
Presentation (group work)
Information presented was unorganized. No real purpose for presenting the information was established. No visual aids were presented.
Information presented was somewhat unorganized. Some of the information was irrelevant. Visual aids were not used to enhance presentation.
Student presented information in a relatively clear and concise manner. (For team): Speaker presented facts, but could have been more organized and convincing in the delivery. A variety of facts were presented. One visual aid was used to aid presentation.
Student presented information in a clear and concise manner. (for team): Presentation was done in a confident, convincing manner. A variety of facts were presented. More than one visual aid was used to aid presentation.
Persuasive Paper (group work)
Paragraphs lack organization. The position is not stated. Resources are not cited. The paper has many gramatical errors.
The closing argument may have a weak organizational structure. Some resources are cited. The paper has several grammatical errors.
Overall, the closing argument is clear and concise. Most citations are done correctly. Paper has some between 2-3 grammatical errors.
Closing argument is clear and concise. A clear position is stated. Citations are done correctly. Paper has no more than 2 grammatical errors.