11th Grade Political Dissidents And Free Speech Lesson Plan

Topic: Political Dissidents and Free Speech

Objectives & Outcomes

  • Students will be able to identify examples of political dissidents and their struggles for free speech.
  • Students will be able to evaluate the importance of free speech and the need to protect political dissidents.


  • Copies of the short stories "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson and "The Body" by Stephen King
  • Documentary film "Gui Gui: A Chinese Child's Journey Home"
  • Handouts with information about political dissidents


  • Ask students to share what they know about political dissidents. Write their answers on the board.
  • Discuss the importance of political speech and freedom of speech in a democracy.

Direct Instruction

  • Introduce the concept of political dissidents and explain why they are a threat to a government.
  • Use examples of political dissidents from history or current events to illustrate the consequences they may face if their speech challenges the government.
  • Discuss the importance of the First Amendment and its protection of free speech.

Guided Practice

  • Have students work in small groups to research and present on a political dissident from history or current events.
  • As a class, discuss the consequences the dissident faced and how their speech challenged the government.
  • Encourage debate and discussion about the value of free speech and the importance of protecting political dissidents.
  • Ask students to consider whether their own government is committed to protecting free speech and why or why not.

Independent Practice

  • Assign a project in which students research and write a letter to their local or national government on the topic of political dissidents and free speech.
  • Encourage students to use the information they learned in the lesson to support their position on the topic.
  • Ask students to consider the potential consequences of protecting political dissidents and the importance of free speech in their society.


  • Ask students to share their letters with the class and discuss any new insights or perspectives they gained from their research.
  • Review the key concepts of the lesson, including the definition of political dissidents, the importance of free speech, and the potential consequences of protecting political dissidents.


  • Observe students during the group activity and independent practice to assess their understanding of the material and their ability to conduct independent research.
  • Use the letters written for the independent practice as a formative assessment to evaluate students' understanding of the material and their ability to articulate their thoughts on political dissidents and free speech.

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