Teaching 12 Angry Men? Use This Stations Activity To Introduce The Play

Use station activities as a hands-on method to introduce your next drama or novel unit! This free resource for classroom stations includes everything you need to build students’ background knowledge of the jury system and give them the foundation to form their own opinions. 

banner that says 12 Angry Men Stations Activity in front of a picture of a jury box

Why use a Stations Activity to Introduce a Drama? 

Stations are a fantastic strategy to introduce a drama – or any new literature unit – because they are centered on student inquiry. With a guiding essential question to frame the learning, students begin close reading, discussion, and critical analysis in a series of short activities.

Before diving into a new piece of literature, it is necessary to build background knowledge of unfamiliar topics and settings. Stations can provide a broad overview of these topics through segmented tasks that spark debate and generate more questions.

(Read more about the student engagement through inquiry here.)

quote that says that stations are a fantastic strategy because they are centered on student inquiry

Overview of the Station Activities for 12 Angry Men Unit

In the English Teacher Vault, Day 1 of the 12 Angry Men unit poses the essential question: “Is a jury system effective in determining justice?” Each of the student-led stations is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the court system to evaluate this question.

Students will complete tasks using informational texts, group discussion prompts, and reflective responses.

Each station activity should take 7-10 minutes to complete with easy options to customize to your class needs. Arrange groups in flexible options to complete stations in any order.

By the end of the 5-station rotation, students will understand the role of the jury in determining guilt or innocence. They will use this knowledge to analyze the credibility of the cast of jurors in 12 Angry Men and form their own opinions about the jury system.

After the station activities, your students will be set up for success as they engage in reader’s theater with the 12 Angry Men script. Read more about how to conduct reader’s theater for the unit here: How To Do a Reader’s Theater for 12 Angry Men. 

picture of a computer with a description of each station for the activity

Step-by-Step Guide to Introducing 12 Angry Men Unit with Stations

Follow these steps to introduce the timeless courtroom drama. Each station will draw students into the unit themes by analyzing the jury system with a critical perspective.

Prep the Materials

This lesson requires a bit more physical prep than typical high school English lessons. However, with everything ready to print and cut, you can easily get everything ready to go a day or two before the actual lesson. Plus, you can organize and save the materials to make it super easy to reuse year after year!

Decide how you will organize the room to accommodate 5 stations and how many students will be in each group. You may also want to pre-assign student groups to save time on the actual class day. 

Once materials have been printed and sorting cards cut out for Station 1, organize them into folders if you like. Station 2 also provides an option to use an online link if you prefer. Student handouts can be placed at each station, or printed together and stapled into one packet.

picture of the handout for the stations activity with highlighters next to it

Introduce the Lesson

Before students enter the room, display the attention-grabbing opening slide with the “jury summons” for the day. Students will complete a brief warm-up survey while getting settled. Introduce the topic by informing students that their task is to determine the answer to the question: 

 “Is a jury system effective in determining justice?”

Set Expectations and Assign Groups

With any student-led or small group activity, set expectations up front to ensure success. Take a moment to explain the day’s “court proceedings” by outlining the task at each station. instruct students on how to spend the allotted time at each station and any instructions for keeping up with materials.

You may also choose to inform students of any grading expectations for today’s lesson. At this time, let students know their group assignments, or number them off equally. 

*Check out the English Teacher Vault lesson for more tips on structuring groups of different sizes and behavior needs.

Begin the Proceedings!

Display a visual timer and instruct students to begin their station tasks. The stations are designed to be completed in any order, but you may wish to direct a specific rotation for easy transitions. 

Circulate the room to check in on any groups that may need further assistance or modifications. Be sure to include a few minutes of flex time to allow for movement or additional discussion as needed.

Close Station Activities and Assess the Evidence

Provide any final directions as the stations come to a close. (Re-organize station materials, moving seats, collecting work, etc.) Allow students a few extra minutes to wrap up any unfinished notes.

Students will complete an exit ticket to answer the essential question with their own opinions. If time allows, ask any students if they’d like to volunteer their responses, or simply collect exit tickets and tally responses on the board. Ask any additional probing questions about the information discussed.

picture of a laptop with the first two station activities described on it

How to Differentiate Classroom Stations

Modify one or more stations to meet a broad range of student needs!

For emerging learners or ESL students, differentiate reading assignments by identifying key paragraphs in advance or highlighting key points on individual article copies. You may also wish to provide a word bank or list of vocabulary terms. Also, allow students to write bullet point lists rather than full paragraphs if needed. 

Teachers can also choose to conduct the station activities as one group. Another option is to extend the time for each station and utilize 2 days for these tasks.

Additionally, adapt the station resources for students who are ready for advanced options! Swap out any of the informational texts with more complex ones or have students search online for credible resources to complete the task at each station. After group discussion, students can complete specific tasks, such as written responses, individually.

Don’t forget to utilize the teacher answer key provided in the lesson! This will come in handy as you circulate the room and scaffold for individual students.

picture of handout for students to write responses for station two

Free Stations Activity for 12 Angry Men Unit

Download the free resources to conduct these stations today! You’ll receive everything you need for an interactive lesson that engages every student in your classroom. 

Grab the whole folder for this stations activity here!

English Teacher Vault Trial Membership

Go beyond the stations on Day 1 and explore the rest of the 12 Angry Men unit in the English Teacher Vault! Students will apply their knowledge of the throughout the unit through close analysis of text evidence and persuasive writing. A comprehensive pacing guide, detailed lessons, presentations, and handouts are readily available for teachers to download. 

See more resources for English teachers when you sign up for a trial membership of the English Teacher Vault today!

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English Teacher Vault $1 trial option

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