Prove or Disprove: Why is Death and the King's Horseman more than a Clash of Cultures?

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT analyze and present to the class how the author's choices impact the tension in the play by examining how the Yoruba and the British cope with colonialism.

Big Idea

Students will answer the essential question: Why is Death and the King's Horseman More than a Clash of Cultures?

Let's Get Started: Creating Groups for Final Presetations

5 minutes

As the students walk in the door, I give them a slip of paper with a number between one and six on it. This number represents their group.  I like to change up the groups fairly often. Students need to get used to working with different people and recognizing their own strengths and weakness as group members so they can grow and improve their performance (SL 9-10. 6).

The group numbers correspond to an assumption and questions related to that assumption. The students developed the assumptions and questions before we began reading Death and the King's Horseman.  The assumptions are derived from an article about Wole Soyinka and writing Death and the King's Horseman.  

When the students developed these assumptions and corresponding questions, from the beginning, I intended them to be the final assessment for this unit.  In order to prove/disprove their assumptions using textual evidence the students will have to delve into the structure of the text, the character development, and the language (RL 9-10. 1, 3, and 5).

Students have a few minutes to orient to their new group and review their assigned question.  

Applying Knowledge: Designing Presentations

45 minutes

In this article, Wole Soyinka states that Death and the King's Horseman is more than a clash of cultures.  The final assessment for this play is a group presentation that will either prove or disprove the assumption by requiring text dependent responses to the final questions and thoughtful response to the essential question for the unit: Why is Death and the King's Horseman more than a clash of cultures (SL 9-10. 4)? 

Students have 45 minutes to design their presentation that includes the following: 

  1. State the assumption
  2. Answer the questions with text-based evidence (RL 9-10. 1)
  3. Explain if the group’s answers prove or disprove the assumption
  4. Evaluate how the assumption and the evidence support Soyinka’s claim that Death and the King’s Horseman is more than a clash of cultures . 
  5. Create a visual to support your presentation (suggested, not required)

While they are not writing a formal essay, they still have to develop a response that argues the validity of their assumption (W 9-10. 1).  All of the students have read the article on  Wole Soyinka  and the play, so they are prepared for the discussion and are ready to use text-based evidence to develop their presentation (SL 9-10 1a). 

I give them a copy of the rubric and remind them that they should use both the article and the play to create their presentation. 


Applying Knowledge: Answering the question: Why is Death and the King's Horseman More than a Clash of Cultures?

40 minutes

Before we begin the presentations, I remind them to take notes on each group's presentation. For homework they have to use the information from class to write their individual response to why is Death and the King's Horseman more than a clash of cultures? 

The presentations do not have to be in any particular order since they are based on inferences or claims about the text and questions  that were developed before they read the play.  Therefore, I take volunteers to go first.  The sore on their presentation is based on the rubric. The rubric does not take into consideration the potential connections between presentations.  

 As part of the presentation, students have to reference multiple sources (SL 9-10.2). I wanted them to use Death and the King's Horseman and the article on Wole Soyinka.   The plays supports specific questions that deal with topics such as education.  However some groups choose to use additional sources such as Things Fall Apart and Maus. Both Things Fall Apart and Maus were texts we studied this year.  It impresses me that they are reaching beyond the requirements of the assignment and taking academic risks to develop the presentation.

As groups present, I pay close attention to how they are using evidence to support an inference and if the evidence adequately supports their inference. 

Wrap Up: What's Next?

5 minutes

We are out of time in class. Therefore, for homework each student has to use evidence from the texts and the presentations to answer the question: Why is Death and the King's Horseman more than a clash of cultures? (W.9-10.2) This question has framed the activities and discussions of this entire unit.  Now it is time to see how the students handle using the text to answer the question. 

We are transitioning to a new unit in the next class, students need to bring the list of the elements of culture and their five elements they used for their culture wheel presentation to begin our new unit tomorrow.