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Pre-Viewing Lesson Plan
  • The Era That Shaped Oswald
  • Student Handout: Part One: What Do You Know About JFK?
  • Student Handout: Part Two: Checking Your Answers

  • Viewing Lesson Plan
  • Student Viewing Guide
  • Student Handout: Student Viewing Guide

  • Post-Viewing Lesson Plan
  • The "Trial" of Lee Harvey Oswald

  • Extending the Lesson
  • Trying to Make Sense of the World
  • "Truth" and "Fiction"

  • Internet Resources

    Printable .pdf of Entire Guide
    (Adobe Acrobat required)

    » Post-Viewing Lesson Activity

    Student Viewing Activity:
     The Trail of Lee Harvey Oswald


    » Lesson Objectives:

    In this lesson, students will:

    • Put Lee Harvey Oswald on trial for the assassination of President Kennedy, to decide not if he assassinated the President, but what motivated him to assassinate the president
    • Examine, during the trial, Oswald's personality and possible motivations

    » Materials Needed:

    • Internet access
    • Student Viewing Guide Notes

    » Time Needed:

    One to three class periods, depending on the whether students prepare for the trial during class or as homework

    » Procedure:

    1. Instruct students to consult the notes they took on the Student Viewing Guide and to meet in three groups: Main Characters, Experts, and Other People to plan their testimony.
      Note: Students working in the Other People group might seek more information on Oswald from the following excerpts from Chapter Six of the Warren Commission's report, subtitled "Investigation of Possible Conspiracy":

      Residence in the Soviet Union
      http://www.archives.gov/research_room/jfk/warren_commission/warren_commission_report_chapter6.html#residence

      Associations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Community
      http://www.archives.gov/research_room/jfk/warren_commission/warren_commission_report_chapter6.html#associations

      Political Activities Upon Return to United States
      http://www.archives.gov/research_room/jfk/warren_commission/warren_commission_report_chapter6.html#political
    2. Assign a student to be a psychiatrist testifying about Oswald's life. The "psychiatrist" can find information about Oswald's life from the following links to the Warren Commission report:
      Chapter Seven -- Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and Possible Motives
      http://www.jfk-assassination.de/WCR/wcr7.html

      Appendix XIII -- Biography of Lee Harvey Oswald
      http://www.jfk-assassination.de/WCR/app13.html
    3. Assign a student to be the judge and keep order. If it seems more appropriate, the teacher may take the role of judge. In the interests of time, the judge should keep the testimony of each witness short.

    4. The teacher should establish the order of testimony and the trial should begin.
      Note: The teacher should allow some latitude in legal tactics. The purpose of this exercise is not to teach courtroom strategies. It is to explore the motivations and life of Lee Harvey Oswald.

    » Method of Assessment

    After the trial, each student should write a three-part evaluation:

    Part One: How well did I testify in my role?
    Part Two: Which of the witnesses that I heard did I find most convincing? (Take into account both the evidence itself and how the witness presented the evidence.)
    Part Three: Based on the testimony I heard, how would I evaluate Lee Harvey Oswald's state of mind and reasons for assassinating President Kennedy?

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