In conjunction with our classroom reading of Sophocles's play Antigone and John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men, our 8th-grade students conducted an inquiry into the role that controversy and censorship play in our everyday life.
While reading Antigone, we discussed how the actions of Creon were considered controversial and frowned upon by many. Simultaneously, we discussed how his decree caused Antigone's actions to be unacceptable. Her ability to speak and act freely was censored. These concepts were again investigated as we read Of Mice and Men and discussed the issues in the book that may have been considered controversial resulting in the banning of the book in schools and libraries.
To help students see how these ideas connect to their owns lives and history, they researched controversial issues in history, science, the arts, and literature and how these controversies led to ideas being censored. Students discussed how these acts of censorship affected society at the time. The culminating event was a discussion of whether controversy and censorship are important in helping form and promote ideas in society.
The 8th-grade students then presented all of their research and thoughts in the form of a magazine which was designed and created by the individual student.