Some teachers will show the entire 90-minute documentary, while others will show selected clips. Reviewing the Investigation Overviews can help you select excerpts that are most appropriate, given your learning objectives. The following activities have been suggested because they help students comprehend and engage with the material in the film, and they also hold students accountable for paying attention.
One or more of these ideas, in addition to your own, can be used to create a lesson plan relevant to your students.
While watching the film, we suggest pausing at key moments to clarify understanding and debrief the material. For suggestions on when you might stop the film, consult the Viewing Guide. After responding to the film in their journals, students can discuss what they wrote with a partner. Then pairs can share any important ideas or questions that emerged in their conversations.
Ask students to take notes on the film in a graphic organizer, such as a two-column chart. On the left side (facts), students record information presented in the film. On the right side (responses), students record their reactions to this information—they might write a question or a comment, notes about their feelings, or thoughts on a connection to something they know about or have experienced. Or, students can take notes in the style of an alphabet brainstorm, recording an idea or thought that starts with each letter of the alphabet. You might also have students simply record key words and phrases that jump out at them as they watch. These words and phrases can be used to create individual or group found poems. Another way to hold students accountable for viewing is to use the 3-2-1 strategy. As students watch, you might ask them to record three important ideas, two questions the film raises for them, and one image that stands out to them. Or, you could use the text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world strategy to structure students’ note-taking.