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Create a TV Show

Students will come up with an idea for a TV show based on history, select the cast, outline the plot and identify the best channel or medium for it to air.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, brainstorm a list of television shows based on history. Analyze the list. Guide students to recognize that some of these shows are purely historical while others are historical fiction. Discuss the difference between these two approaches.
  2. Next, have students identify different types of television shows-cartoon, drama, comedy, reality, etc. Challenge students to identify ways that screenwriters have woven history into each type of show. Encourage them to share their favorite examples.
  3. As a class or in small groups, invite students to come up with their own idea for a TV show based on a specific person, place, time or event in history. Tell students that their show must be both entertaining and educational. Challenge them to write a basic plot, compile their ideal cast and identify the channel or medium (i.e., YouTube, Netflix, mainstream TV) that they think would be the best place to air their show.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their ideas with the class. Challenge classmates to identify the historical connection in each plot. Encourage them to offer suggestions for improving the plot, cast or source of each show.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, select one person, place, time or famous event related to something students are studying in history this year. Vote to identify the approach (historical vs. historical fiction) and type of show (cartoon, drama, comedy, reality, etc.) students want to create. Work together to complete the activity.
Grades 5-6:
As a class, select one person, place, time or famous event related to something students are studying in history this year. Then divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select an approach (historical vs. historical fiction) and type of show (cartoon, drama, comedy, reality, etc.). Give groups time to complete the activity. Compare and contrast the results.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select one person, place, time or famous event in history. Then have groups identify the approach (historical vs. historical fiction) they want to use and the type of show (cartoon, drama, comedy, reality, etc.) they want to create. Give groups time to complete the activity. Challenge them to write a brief outline for the first episode of their new show.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select one person, place, time or famous event in history. Then have groups identify the approach (historical vs. historical fiction) they want to use and the type of show (cartoon, drama, comedy, reality, etc.) they want to create. Give groups time to complete the activity. Challenge them to write a detailed script for the first episode. Challenge them to explain why the channel or medium they selected is the best place to air their new show.