Lesson Plan on Dr. Samuel Mudd

Teacher Eileen Perez Subject Social Studies
Grade Level Fifth Date March 12, 2004

I. Content: I want my students to understand the circumstances surrounding Dr. Samuel Muddís conviction on the charges of conspiracy and harboring an assassin, including the speculation that his conviction may not have been legal.

II. Prerequisites: The students must have a general knowledge about the American Civil War, the assassination of President Lincoln, and John Wilkes Boothís motive for killing the president.

III. Instructional Objective: Upon request the student will compose a letter to the President of the United States of America in favor of or against the conviction of Dr. Samuel Mudd in 1865. The studentís letter must include three parts: 1. The studentís belief as to whether the conviction of Dr. Mudd by a military court in1865 was lawful, and why they feel this way. 2. The studentís personal belief of Dr. Muddís innocence or guilt as a conspirator. This must be supported by a minimum of two historical facts as discussed in class. 3.The studentís decision on what should be done regarding the petitions by Dr. Muddís remaining family to have his conviction overturned, and his name cleared.

IV. Instructional Procedures:

Lesson Initiating Activity: To begin the lesson, the teacher will ask the studentís if they know the meaning and origin of the expression, "your name is mud." The teacher will discuss the negative connotation this expression implies. The teacher will explain to the students that this phrase comes from Dr. Samuel Mudd, a Maryland country doctor during the civil war, who set John Wilkes Boothís broken leg after his assassination of President Lincoln.

Core Activities: The teacher will lead a discussion on Dr. Samuel Mudd, highlighting his interaction with Booth before the Presidentís assassination, his care of Boothís injured leg, and his supposed involvement in the assassination. The teacher will then share with the students different views shared by historians as to the extent of Dr. Muddís involvement and his alleged treason. The teacher will explain to the students the circumstances surrounding Dr. Muddís conviction, and his later pardon by President Andrew Johnson.

Closure Activities: The teacher will provide the student with a packet of facts as discussed in class covering the basics about Dr. Samuel Mudd. Included in this packet will be facts about Dr. Muddís actions, trial, and conviction. It will contain facts about Dr. Muddís efforts while at Ft Jefferson, and his official pardon. The packet will also include opposing viewpoints help by historians such as Dr. Muddís descendants, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan and Dr. Edward Steers Jr. (a leading authority who believes in Dr. Muddís guilt.) The teacher will explain to the students that they are to complete a letter, as described in the instructional objectives, using the information packet provided as the source of their factual support.

ESOL Consideration: The teacher will ensure that the discussion in class is done at a reasonable pace, and that all of the students have time to process and respond to information that they receive. The packet provided will define any unfamiliar terms or references. Student in ESOL may be given more time to complete the assignment, and use additional sources of information if needed.

V. Materials and Equipment: The materials for this lesson include historical documentation about Dr. Samuel Mudd (http://members.aol.com/RSVNorton/Lincoln29.html and http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/1422/mudd.html), current research about Dr. Muddís innocence or guilt (http://members.aol.com/RSVNorton/Lincoln29.html, and His Name Is Still Mudd by Dr. Edward Steers Jr.), the packet containing the information listed in the closure activity, and paper and pencils for the students to compose their letters.

VI. Assessment/Evaluation: The teacher will make sure that the letter written by the student is written to the President of the United States and pertains to the information discussed in class about Dr. Samuel Mudd. The completed letters must cover all three points listed in the instructional objectives (1. The studentís belief as to whether the conviction of Dr. Mudd by a military court in1865 was lawful, and why they feel this way. 2. The studentís personal belief of Dr. Muddís innocence or guilt as a conspirator, and 3. The studentís decision on what should be done regarding the petitions by Dr. Muddís remaining family to have his conviction overturned, and his name cleared.) The student must support opinions and decisions with historical facts from the packet provided.

VII. Follow-up Activities: The teacher will review some letters in class, discuss student opinions, and ask why they feel the way they do. The letters may be sent to the President. The teacher may discuss other controversial or disputed events in American history such as the betrayal of Benedict Arnold, or even the results of the presidential election of 2000. A good source for this would be, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen.

VIII. Self-Assessment: The teacher will review the letters written by the student to see if the student demonstrated an understanding of the material covered by writing a letter that expressed his opinion, met the requirements, and was supported by factual evidence. The teacher will also determine the amount of interest and knowledge the students gained from the activity by checking the letters for accuracy, well thought out writing, and student conviction in their belief.

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