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Jack the Ripper Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

If you're studying about the United Kingdom, use this lesson to introduce students to infamous crimes of Jack the Ripper. In this lesson, students will form detective groups to make and analyze their own case files. They will then write essays about who they believe to be Jack the Ripper.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the crimes of Jack the Ripper including his victims
  • Identify some of the people suspected of being Jack the Ripper
  • Write a short essay about Jack the Ripper and make an educated guess about his identity

Length

2+ hours (plus additional time for the extension activity)

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.1

Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.1.B

Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience's knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

Materials

  • Copies of the lesson and/or lesson quiz (optional)
  • Poster board
  • Art supplies

Instruction

  • Before beginning the lesson, tell the students that the topic of today's lesson may be disturbing. Provide students with resources should they feel uncomfortable such as stepping out into the hallway, seeing a guidance counselor, etc.
  • Ask the class to discuss how they think the police go about solving a serious crime such as murder.
  • Tell the students that today they will be learning about one of the most infamous unsolved crimes in the world.
  • Read the lesson Who Was Jack the Ripper? Victims and Identity with the students. Consider giving the students printed copies to follow along during the lesson.
  • Discuss the following questions with the class:
    • Where did the Jack the Ripper killings take place?
    • Why did the professions of the victims matter? Why perhaps did Jack the Ripper select these people?
    • Who were the victims of Jack the Ripper?
    • What did police think about the letter they received supposedly from Jack the Ripper?
    • How did Jack the Ripper kill his victims?
    • Who were some of the suspects that police believe could have been Jack the Ripper?
  • Ask if there are any questions before moving on.

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