Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christopher Columbus Trial!

To end our Social Studies unit about Early American Explorers we participated in a super-fun and interesting mock trial where we put Christopher Columbus (and others) on trial for the tragic crimes that were committed over 500 years ago to the Taino people. We joined up with our TLC classmates on Islesford for this project which, of course, meant lots of technology!

The boys were partnered up with students on Islesford and assigned different groups of people who they were to represent/defend at the trail. Quinn and his partner were given quite the tough assignment... they were to represent Mr. Christopher Columbus and try to prove that it was not ALL his fault for the crimes that were committed against the Taino people.

Dalton and his partner were asked to represent Columbus's men. These were the men who actually physically committed many of the crimes against the Tainos... yet it was Dalton's job to try and explain why they should not be held entirely responsible for their actions.

The other people who were to go on trial were The King and Queen of Spain, The System of Empire, AND the Tainos themselves! The students had to develop opening statements to explain why their defendants were being wrongly accused and then had to develop questions for witnesses they wanted to call to the stand during the trial to further prove their defendants innocence!

On the day of the trial we met with Islesford via Tanberg... Ms. Eysnogle and I were the honorary Judges who ran the trail and the students were the representing attorneys for the different people being prosecuted.

The Monhegan Attorneys dressed up for the trail.

Even Millie was dressed for the trial!

Quinn was up first to give his opening statements. He talked about how Christopher Columbus was just doing what the King and Queen of Spain had told him to do... find new land and bring back gold! He had a lot of strong points about how Columbus did not actually physically commit many of the crimes against the Taino people... he just gave the orders. He also discussed how it was because of the System of Empire and the explorer's who had gone before him that he felt it was okay to treat the Taino's the way he did, because he did not know any better.

Quinn virtually called the Tainos to the stand... Ms. Eysnogle represented the Tainos well.

Some of Islesford students representing the King and Queen of Spain.

And then some of the other students representing the Taino people.

Prosecutor Daltini makes his open remarks... he was pretty stinkin' convincing right off the bat!
He talked about how Columbus's men were just "pawns" in the event that Columbus used to get what he wanted. Columbus threatened his men with their lives if he did not follow his orders. Most of Columbus's men were just trying to survive and make money for their families and did what Columbus told them because they were afraid for their own lives. I see a future in law and debate for D. Burroughs, Representative at Large!

Closing remarks from the group.

We then had the group take off their "prosecuting hats" and become the jury. They had to work together to assign percentages to each of the groups depending on how guilty they believed they were for the violent acts committed.

The reading of the final verdict! Pretty cool stuff! These kids took their assignments very seriously and I was super impressed how well they were able to articulate their ideas and represent their defendants! Job well done!

Special thanks to Ms. Eysnogle on Islesford for letting us take part in such a fun and engaging project!

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