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This is a Salem Witch Trial Reenactment lesson


Social Studies  



Title – Salem Witch Trial Reenactment
By – Anthony Johnson
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 5

Time: 60 – 90 minutes

Grade Level and/or Subject

    This is a fifth grade class learning more about the religious upbringings in the early colonies.


      Students will be able to understand why the witch trials occurred

    Students will be able to know key figures in this period in time

California State Standards:

      5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
      3. Describe the religious aspects of the earliest colonies (e.g., Puritanism in Massachusetts, Anglicanism in Virginia, Catholicism in Maryland, Quakerism in Pennsylvania).
    7. Explain the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial period, including the significance of representative assemblies and town meetings.


      3×5 notecards






      We have been learning about the different types of religions that each colony/region had. What were some of the religions that the colonists butted heads about? (Someone mentions Massachusetts and Puritans). We just finished reading an excerpt from

The Crucible

    last week in Language Arts class. There was a real battle of right vs. wrong wasn’t there? Yes, the Puritans had a real hard time with “witchcraft” in their communities. Well today, we will actually revisit that time and actually have our own Salem trial.


    Each of you will receive a card that has your particular character and their biography. You will reprise that character during the trial. Some of you will be towns’ persons and others will be a lawyer, judge, accusers, and the accused. We will have 2 trials so that we can rotate the different roles. (Each trial will last about 20 minutes)


    The class will convene after the second trial and have a discussion about what went on during the trial. It is important for the students to express their thoughts and feelings, while they were in character, during the trials. The teacher will reveal before the discussion that they students were playing the role of real people from Massachusetts who took part in the trials less than 400 years ago.


    The students will write a journal in the role of one of the key Puritan figures during the witch trials. They will also write a journal about the whole experience.

ELL Strategies:

    These students will play roles that will strengthen their abilities. Also, the teacher will help them with their assignment or create an alternative assignment, if need be.

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