Writing Informatively About the Lizzie Borden Case

Introduction

Hello Students! We have spent the last week learning about credible/non-credible and reliable/unreliable sources to use in informative writing. Now, it is time to apply that knowledge to an informative essay!

On August 4, 1892, Abby and Andrew Borden were both found in the Borden household murdered by ax. The immediate suspect was their daughter, Lizzie Borden, who was accused of the murder and placed on trial. She was subsequently acquitted of the murder and released. The case is still one that is widely researched and one that intrigues many people. Most believe that Lizzie Borden is guilty of the murders, but no one understands why. Lizzie Borden has since passed, meaning that we will never know who committed the murders and why.

This WebQuest is designed to help you explore this case and gather the facts. You will act as an investigator and create a case summary, one that in unbiased and strictly informative.

 

Task

Your job is to play the lead detective of the Lizzie Borden case! You will search the internet and discover all of the relevant facts/clues of the case, compile them, and construct a 2-3 page informative essay about the case. Remember-- you are writing informatively. This means that your job is to stick to the facts, not to insert your opinion. 

Process

Step 1: 

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Familiarize yourself with the case! Read through the links pasted below to learn all about the case, the trial, and the evidence. Take notes of relevant facts and/or things that stick out to you as you go. Pay attention to the articles-- are they credible? Unbiased? Fact-based? It is okay to read through the sources that are not credible; they are a great place to kickstart your own research. However, when constructing your own essay, only stick to the facts!

Spend some time conducting some research of your own if you'd like! Look up any questions you are left with after reading the articles below.

Resources:

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/07/09/borden-case/

https://famous-trials.com/lizzieborden/1437-home

https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/famous-murders/lizzie-borden/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/lizzie-borden-didnt-kill-her-parents-maybe-180963721/

https://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-lizzie-borden

 

Step 2: 

plans?

It is time to plan your essay! Decide which parts of the case you will compile into your essay, and complete the linked graphic organizer. This will help you tremendously in constructing your essay!

Graphic organizer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ggU62MQvTOnDF9mKmqjd-U-hwtgTlx_D/view?usp=sharing

 

Step 3:

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Decide which sources you will use in your essay! You need to use at least 3 different, credible sources. For each source you plan to use, write a 3-4 sentence summary of the source and how you will use it in your essay. These will be typed, printed, and stapled to your essay.

 

Step 4:

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It's time to write your essay now! Log on to Google Docs and start writing! Remember to use MLA style (I will link a resource to help you with MLA formatting below). Your essay should be 2-3 pages in length, not including your Works Cited Page or your page of source summaries. Use your graphic organizer to help you! I promise-- it is a great tool!

MLA resource: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html

 

Step 5: 

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Peer Review time! Share your essay with one of your classmates to peer review it. Spend some time marking grammatical errors and marking places that need more explanation or research to back it up. Pay close attention to whether or not the author of the paper you are reviewing remained informative and unbiased throughout. When you have completed this, send it back to them!

 

Step 6:

Read through your essay again, make any changes you need to make, and share your essay with me! 

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Evaluation

Lizzie Borden Informative Essay Rubric

 

 EXCELLENT

 GOOD

 NEEDS WORK

 

Informative Style

 The paper is written informatively and in an unbiased fashion. The paper adequately covers the Lizzie Borden case (the crime, the evidence, the trial, and the acquittal) and does not leave out any important details. The paper is informative and mostly unbiased. The paper covers most parts of the Lizzie Borden case but leaves out a few important details. The paper is not written informatively nor in an unbiased fashion. The paper does not cover the important parts of the Lizzie Borden case and/or it tells the case in a biased light.  _____/ 30 points

Research

The student has included at least 3 credible, reliable sources. The student has implemented the sources throughout the paper in all places necessary. The student has included at least 2 credible, reliable sources. The student has implemented the sources throughout the paper in most necessary places. The student has included 1 or no sources OR the sources the student used are non credible or reliable. The student leaves many parts of the essay not supported with research.  _____/30 points

Research Summaries

The student has provided a 3-4 sentence summary of each source and how it will be used in the paper. The student has provided a 2-3 sentence summary of each source and how it will be used in the paper. The students has not provided summaries of the sources. OR the summaries are shorter than 2 sentences.  _____/20 points

Grammar & Mechanics

The student has presented an essay that is free of mechanical and/or grammatical errors. The student has presented an essay that is mostly free of mechanical and/or grammatical errors. The errors do not distract from the content of the essay. The student has present an essay that is full of mechanical and/or grammatical errors that distract from the content of the essay.  _____/10 points

Paper Format

The paper is in proper MLA format (12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1" margins, included Works Cited Page). The paper is 2-3 full pages in length. The paper is mostly in proper MLA format, missing no more than 1 of the following: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1" margins, included Works Cited Page. The paper is at least 2 full pages in length. The paper is not in proper MLA format, missing more than 1 of the following: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1" margins, included Works Cited Page. The paper is less than 2 full pages in length.  _____/10 points

TOTAL SCORE

       _____ / 100 total points

 

Conclusion

The Lizzie Borden case is just one of many unsolved cases that still trouble people today. Many people still work to try to solve the case, although the only person who can tell us what happened, Lizzie, is dead now. Writing about unsolved cases is a great way to practice informative writing because it forces us to be unbiased and impartial when everything inside of us wants to choose a guilty party and explain what they are guilty. If you followed each step in the Process, you have strengthened not only your skills as a writer but also your skills as a researcher. Great job!

Credits

This WebQuest was created by Jordan Vaughan. I am a secondary ELA teacher in MS and a student in the MAT program through The University of Mississippi.

 

Lizzie Borden dance video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlJeLxGVmtQ

Lizzie Borden case video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uUIzdXH30g&t=325s

Lizzie Borden chant video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj_BIsVQdqs

Most pictures were pulled from my personal Bitmoji account.

Credit for the ELF meme: memegenerator.net

SpongeBob meme: memegenerator.net

 

All other sources have been linked.

Teacher Page

This WebQuest was made for my students to practice researching and constructing an informative essay. Using an unsolved case that many already have opinions about as the topic for an informative essay is great practice for the students because it forces them to pay attention to their writing to ensure it is impartial and unbiased.