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Ninth grade modern world history students recently conducted a trial for the absolute monarchs of Europe who reigned during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The trial was conducted as a satire since the monarchs had absolute power and would not have been put on trial. Some students played the part of the monarchs, whereas other students were witnesses for either the defense or the prosecution. Students had to create and record a one-minute script based on the testimony of their particular character such as a monarch, noble, peasant, or a person of a particular religious affiliation.
For example, Jacob Stevens, pictured in costume, played the part of a Dutch merchant testifying against King Phillip II of Spain. He testified that Phillip II tried to force the people of the Netherlands to convert to Catholicism which caused the Dutch to revolt against their Spanish rulers.
During the trial the students acted as the jury and decided on the guilt or innocence of the monarch based on the testimonies. Beyond content knowledge, students strengthen their 21st century skills including critical thinking, creativity and technology.