What would be your position on death penalty if you were a...?


Have you ever roleplayed?

Today, in this Sociology webquest, we will discuss different perspectives about death penalty (also known as capital punishment), a controversial issue, by roleplaying different people.





Our aim is to present diverging opinions concerning death penalty in United States of America while creating a space for reflection, in which you can practice empathy by, as the proverb says, "putting yourself in someone else's shoes". To express that, you will be asked to write your position as the person you chose to roleplay.

At the end, we will ask you to write your own position, taking into consideration what you have read and building a personal cohesive consensus of the issue.


Your writings should be made with our class e-mail in Google Docs. Create a file with your full name and student number.


Before reading the texts provided, choose a character to roleplay: as and write what you think their position would be:

  • A law student
  • A human rights activist
  • A judge
  • A survivor of abuse
  • A prisioner sentenced to death


Then, as your chosen character, write what you think their position would be on the death penalty issue.

Tip: ask yourself how would the character you chose think. For example: What would guide their judgement? What would be the focus of their analysis of the issue? How their background contributes to their position? Write in the first-person voice.


Now, as yourself, read the following texts:

Text I


Text II


Text III


Text IV



After reading the texts, answer:

  • What was your position before reading the texts? 
  • Taking into consideration what you have read, would you say you are more pro or against death penalty?
  • Do you think the character you chose to roleplay would change their position if they read the texts? Which informations would contribute (or not) to this change?




Evaluation Criteria


  • If the student has given herself or himself to the roleplay by developing their writing accordingly;
  • If the student has shown comprehension of the issue's complexity by expressing it in her or his position;
  • If the student has written a cohesive and coherent text, making her or his ideas clear to the reader;
  • If the student demonstrates a reflection has occurred in her or his opinion by considering new information.


  • If grammar mistakes occured in her or his writing. (It will not be discounted, but it will be pointed out)




Final thoughts

In this webquest, we took a look into the complexity of the death penalty controversy by the lens of empathy. By roleplaying, we practiced putting ourselves in someone else's shoes, accepting a perspective and a line of thinking different than ours. Furthermore, we reflected on the impact that death penalty has on society. Despite being a difficult issue, we strived to build our own position on the issue and to express it respectfully.

What was the most challeging text for you to read? Do you think it was important to reflect on this specific issue? Would you like to make a suggestion of another topic?

I hope this quest was meaningful for you!


Teacher Page

Paola Furtado Gomes de Macedo (139379)

Contact info: paolafgmacedo@outlook.com