The Judges (there will be 2)

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You are being sent back in time to the year 1692, the time when the Witch Trials were happening in Salem, Massachusetts to change the course of history...or NOT!
     You and your group are going to become the court that decided the fate of many men and women who were accused of being witches or having some association with the devil. You will each have a position to fulfill in making the final decision. Just remember that if found guilty, these men and women will be hanged or burnt at the stake and the decision is yours to make!
You will research the 1692 Salem Witch Trials and create your own court pertaining to the way you think things should have turned out.  
     You will work in a group of 4, including 2 judges, 1 accused and 1 afflicted to decide the fate of 2 factual people that you will select to represent. Along with creating your own outcome for the selected people, you will also research some of the people who were accused and killed to create a memorial for them. You will also research the town of Salem around this time period in order to understand why things happened the way they did and how these trials and deaths could have been prevented as well as relating the events that occurred to present day.
     You will combine all of this into a web page (it can be as simple as you want, but remember higher marks are given for the more effort and creativity put into the site) that displays your decision in the court as well the memorial to the people who died and the Salem town information.
1) You will get into a group of 4 people and divide yourselves into the following positions.

The Judges (there will be 2)

The Accused

The Afflicted

The person who accepts "The Accused" task will pick someone, who in 1692, was accused of witchcraft to represent. This person must be an actual person from Salem in this time period who was accused of associating with the devil. You can find names as well as biographies on these people at numerous websites.

The person who accepts "The Afflicted" task will pick someone who was supposedly "afflicted" by the devil to represent. This person, too will have to be a real person from Salem. You can find the names as well as biographies of some of these people also at numerous websites.

The 2 people who accept "The Judges" task will select a judge from the list below and represent them and research their selected judge to get a feel for their individual characteristics.

Judge John Hathorne -

Judge Samuel Sewall –

Judge William Stoughton –

2) Once you have picked the person you wish to represent, you will research them. For the afflicted and accused, you will do a lengthy research on your character and decide whether or not you think they were guilty of witchcraft and write a paper on your decision. This report will be submitted to the judges, who will have the final say in deciding the fate of your character. You should ask yourself the following questions when making this decision. Remember, you are trying to prove that your character is innocent and trying to get the judges to see this too.
What kind of life did this person lead?

Did he/she have any reason to lie and say they had an association with the devil or did they have any reason to lie and say they didn't? Was this person young, middle aged, old, single, or married? What effect would this have on the trial? What would have been the reason for this outbreak of witchcraft in Salem in this time period? What are some known personality traits of your character? Was this person well respected in the town?

What other reasons could there have been, besides witchcraft, for the hysteria in Salem?
3) The accused and afflicted will then write their report on the innocence of their character and submit it to the judges, who will make a decision on the fate of your character (the verdict). The judges will be responsible to decide if the character is innocent or guilty of witchcraft and why. They too, will write a report on why they think this person is guilty or innocent. They will base their decision on the questions above for the afflicted and accused. The judges will also get to decide what happens to this person. Will they be set free or killed? Hung or burnt at the stake? The 2 judges should make their decisions together and write 2 reports (one for each character) together. These reports will be written to represent the verdict in court. The web site will consist of the following features

The Web Site

The Main Page

This page will consist of one of the many pictures of Salem or anything to do with the trials, a title and basically anything else you want on it

The Afflicted's report

This section will have the report on why this character is innocent that is submitted to the judges

The Accused's report

This section has the report from the accused on why he/she is innocent that is submitted to the judges

The Judges decision

This section has the judges' report on their decision and the fate of the accused and afflicted

Salem- before,after and present

This section has information on the town of Salem before the witch trials, after and in the present day. This part should include pictures of the town, which can be found on numerous websites.


This section tells of the suggested causes of the Salem Witch Craft Trials


This section is a memorial page that the whole group will create for the people who were killed as a result of the trials. It can be creative as you want and pictures of actual tombstones can be found in the resources links.

Rewrite History / Decision

This is where the whole group will come together, and based on their research of the Salem Witch Trials, make a decision on whether they thought everyone convicted of witchcraft or supposedly afflicted with witchcraft is guilty or innocent. Even thought they only represented 1 accused person and 1 afflicted person, they will use the information they found out about every aspect of the Salem Witchcraft Trials to make a decision based on everyone accused/afflicted. They will present this page as a historical reference, telling the results of their trial. Was anyone killed? Anyone saved? When did the trial end?

5) The Salem before, after and today part of the website will include any pictures that you have found from the resources and facts about the town. The following questions should be answered on this part of the web page.

How did the town look before the witch trials? How did it change after?

How many people roughly lived in Salem at this time and approximately how many live there now?

What is the town of Salem called nowadays?

What kind of buildings did the town have back then? Present day?

What was the main source of income back then? Present day?

What are some of the main attractions to Salem now?

6) The causes section should just include anything that you can come up with based on you own conclusions, to explain the hysteria surrounding witchcraft and the devil.

7) The memorial page is where you will, as a group, create a memorial for the people who died. There are pictures of gravesites and last comments from some of the people who were killed. There were 19 all together. You should list their names and give a bit of background information on some of the well-known deceased.

8) The last part of the page is where you tie in your ideas on how you would have changed the events leading up to and during the Salem Witch Trials. You should explain some better ways in which to resolve the conflicts, rather then hanging or burning people. Some questions to ask yourself would be:

Could the problems in society that led up to this mass hysteria be caused from the need to be heard from the female community?

What was going on in the rest of the world at the time of the Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts?
Don’t know how to create a web page? Try these websites.
You won’t actually have to “launch” your website on the internet (but it looks good if you do), put it on a disk(flash drive, whatever) and you will present it to the class. Good luck 

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