Author Marlene Trestman provided a background overview of the life of Bessie Margolin during a virtual program hosted by the Supreme Court Historical Society.
This lesson plan about Supreme Court advocate Bessie Margolin opens with two reflective questions that ask students to their prior knowledge of famous women throughout U.S. history. Students then watch, analyze, and respond to an introductory video clip in which author Marlene Trestman provides a background overview of the life of Margolin. Next, students watch, analyze, and respond to three video clips that provide information on Margolin's early life and government service. Students then view and analyze two video clips that detail Margolin's work before the Supreme Court and in support of New Deal legislation. The lesson concludes with two reflective video clips detailing Margolin's impact and legacy along with a summative writing prompt.
This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.
You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handout and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.
You can also save and share the following Google resource for students to use with this lesson.
Handout: Graphic Organizer (Google Doc).
In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.
Pose the following brainstorming questions to your students, directing them to record their responses in their graphic organizer, share with a partner, and then with the class if they choose.
Play this introductory video clip [Clip #1] (3:19) of author Marlene Trestman providing a background overview of the life of Bessie Margolin during a virtual program hosted by the Supreme Court Historical Society. Direct your students to answer the following questions on their graphic organizer.
Direct your students to their graphic organizers to view and define the vocabulary terms that will appear in the lesson in the chart in their graphic organizer handout. The vocabulary words are also listed to the right on this webpage. We recommend having your students define and present the terms in a jigsaw activity to save time.
Depending on time and resources, you may consider having your students define and present the terms in a Frayer's Model activity, where each student takes one or two items. Students can then post their models around the room for reference throughout the lesson. Note: This is not an all-encompassing list of terms included in each video. We recommend you previewing the video clips to determine any necessary additions/subtractions to this list for your specific students.
Direct students to the engagement section of their graphic organizers. Have students students view each of the three video clips that detail Bessie Margolin’s life before advocating cases before the Supreme Court, take notes, and answer each question. Direct students to prepare to present their findings with the class when finished.
Clip #2: Early Life (2:38).
Clip #3: Law School to Government Service (2:10).
Clip #4: TVA to the Labor Department (4:08).
Direct students to the application section of their graphic organizers. Have students students view each of the two video clips that detail Bessie Margolin’s experiences with the Supreme Court and related legislation, take notes, and answer each question. Direct students to prepare to present their findings with the class when finished.
Clip #5: The Supreme Court (6:09).
Clip #6: A Federal Judgeship (4:57).
Direct students to the reflection section of their graphic organizers. Have students students view each of the two video clips that bring the lesson a close, take notes, and answer each question. Direct students to prepare to present their findings with the class when finished.
Clip #7: Tribute (2:03).
Clip #8: Reflective Thoughts (1:59).
After your students are finished with the reflective clips, direct them to complete the final culminating writing prompt in their graphic organizers, and have students share their responses, comparing their perspectives with their classmates' perspectives: Having now learned about the life and contributions of Bessie Margolin, describe her lasting legacy on the United States. Be sure to include evidence from the video clips and your research to support your response.