Lesson Plan: Language Arts


Students often have difficulty empathizing with the content of texts because they lack context and opportunities to develop deep connections or experiences. Enemy Within is a game that provides concrete, sensory experiences for students. The game simulates how intolerance impacts the ability of individuals and groups to live or coexist peacefully in a society, as a result of real or perceived differences and/or a diversity of characteristics, beliefs, and practices in a community.

General Understandings
  1. Intolerance is a closed-mindedness and bias against the characteristics, beliefs, and practices of others that differ from one’s own (such as race, nationality, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, abilities, religion, etc.)
  2. Intolerance is expressed through multiple mediums and a variety of actions and expressions.
  3. Intolerance impacts the ability of individuals and groups to live or co-exist peacefully in a society, because of real or perceived differences and a diversity of characteristics, beliefs, and practices in a community.
Learning Objectives: 21st Century Skills

The 21st Century Skills framework is a complex system that incorporates content knowledge, specific skills, expertise, and literacies to create a cohesive system of student outcomes and support systems. The Teen Thoughts on Democracy program utilizes the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework to further the skills cultivated through this progressive game-based curriculum such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation.


Download this user-friendly chart for detailed information on lesson components and how to access the lesson resources for Intolerance theme.

Learning Objective

Enemy Within is designed to make students aware of group psychology and dynamics, and to teach how it feels to be the victim of stereotyping and fear mongering. This game is structured to evoke strong emotional responses and to provoke group conflict. Students experience feelings of being “the other” and/or “the accuser” within the safe environment of the “magic circle” of the game. In order for students to better reflect on the group’s behavior, it is recommended that the game be played more than once and that a debrief be conducted immediately after completing the games.

Basic Strategy

The object of Enemy Within is to eliminate the Enemy hiding amongst a group of Citizens. In a McCarthy-esque style, players accuse each other of being enemies and cause each other to disappear. Accused players use the Character cards to defend themselves. This game is played by the whole class and moderated by the teacher. Enemy Within is dark and fast-paced, designed to evoke strong personal emotional responses, and bring out personal biases in the group.

Detailed Teacher Instructions are included in the Enemy Within game materials below.

  1. Once the game is completed, have all the students return to their seats in the circle for a debrief.
  2. This is an opportunity for you to guide the students’ reflection and prepare them for “The Crucible.”
  3. Guiding Questions (Adapt depending on how you may be approaching “The Crucible.”)
      • To those who were eliminated immediately “during the night”, how did it feel to be removed so suddenly?
      • To those who were accused but escaped elimination (even if only for a few rounds), how did it feel to be accused by your “neighbors”?
      • Did some characters (or some students) seem more likely to be the Enemy than others? Why?
      • How did it feel to not only be accused, but to see others voting for your removal?
      • What did it feel like to be “dead” and to see what was going on, but unable to do or say anything?
      • Think about the community that developed during this game. How were you all able to come to a consensus despite the short amount of time you had to decide who the “Enemy” might be?
      • How did you feel about the community of players?
      • Did you begin to look for at your peers differently?
      • How did you evaluate body language, defensive arguments, or other factors to help you reach a decision?
  4. After students have discussed their experiences with the game, transition into the lesson. Ask the following questions:
      • Has anyone heard of the advertising campaign that uses the sentence: “If you see something, say something”?
      • (If not, explain the United States Homeland Security’s new campaign. Then ask students:) What exactly are we supposed to be looking for? And what are we supposed to say? To whom?
      • What are we in fear of? Is there an “enemy” among us? If so, who or what?
Analyzing Intolerance and Fear through “The Crucible”
  1. The students can begin to read “The Crucible.”
  2. As the tension begins in Act I, remind the students of events that occurred during the Enemy Within game. After reading the scene where Abigail accuses Tituba, ask students to recall how it felt to have their eyes closed, and to know someone among them was choosing to eliminate one of members of their community. Discuss the ways in which the game, Enemy Within, is similar to what is happening in Salem in the opening scenes.
      • What is going on during the night while other citizens of Salem are sleeping?
      • Why is Tituba accused first? Why might she be an easy target?
      • Who instigated the accusations against whom?
      • How did the accused defend themselves?
      • Does Rev. Parris, and the others in his home, believe there is an enemy within?
      • Why does Rev. Parris feel targeted and how does he react?
  3. At the end of Act 1, the girls unanimously express accusations towards Goody Osborne, Goody Good, and other women in Salem. Encourage students to compare the ways they acted while playing the Enemy Within game when they collectively suspected and accused other students of being the evil enemy. Is the behavior caused simply by peer pressure or by something else? Examine how this behavior culminates in the final scenes of Act I.
  4. As Act II opens, the town of Salem is on the brink of collapse. A crucial narrative in the play explains the changes in the setting and atmosphere of Salem. Discuss with students what happened during the game as more of their peers were being killed, and they faced increasing suspicion of those around them.
      • How did they feel?
      • How did fearfulness of another impact the ability of players to live peacefully in the community?
      • In what way, might that fear be similar to the environment in Salem?
  5. Analyze the court scenes in Act II and III and discuss with students the characteristics of the first people accused and hanged in Salem.
      • What did they have in common?
      • Why were they targeted?
      • Thinking about playing the game Enemy Within and how personal biases influenced who you chose as the Enemy, do you think the behaviors in Salem are evident in the world today?
      • Where have you seen or experienced that behavior?
Deconstructing Messages of Fear

For over two hundred years artists and designers have created images addressing freedoms of expression, including those protected in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The American artist, Norman Rockwell, created the Four Freedoms series of posters in 1943 in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address (known as his “Four Freedoms Speech”). These posters have inspired many other artists since that time and are the primary focus for this artistic response activity, in particular the Freedom from Fear poster. (The posters may be downloaded from the Thoughts on Democracy section of the website and are also reproduced in the printed instructor guide.)

  1. Allow students to arrive at their own conclusions about the Rockwell poster by facilitating an open group discussion using the Visual Thinking Strategies© methodology:
      • What’s going on in this picture?
      • What do you see that makes you say that?
      • What more can we find?

    NOTE: Use the second question to prompt students when they do not provide evidence for their reasoning; for example, “What do you see that makes you say that the man looks sad?”

    After this discussion, IF students request more information, you can provide some historical background on Rockwell’s creation of these posters in 1943. You may address the production of propaganda to promote the sale of war bonds and FDR’s “Four Freedoms Speech” to Congress and the American people. (The text of the speech is included in the Lesson Resources. A video is also available online.)

      • What might the U.S. citizens in 1943 have been fearful of
      • Why does Rockwell feel that fighting for freedom from fear is a collective issue, an issue that is “OURS…to fight for”?
      • Are we engaged in a collective fight for freedom from fear today? If so, what causes us to feel fearful?
      • What can we do as a community to lessen the impact of these fears?
  2. After the group discussion, place students into small groups of 3-4.
  3. Download and distribute copies of a selection of the Freedom from Fear posters created by contemporary artists for the Thoughts on Democracy: Reinterpreting Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms exhibition; or you may provide the link to the website for students to view images online or project them in your classroom. Each group should focus on a different image.
  4. Instruct students to discuss, within their groups, the contemporary fears expressed in the artists’ posters addressing Freedom from Fear. Each group should prepare to share their ideas and analysis of a poster to the class.
  5. Students should employ the same three-question strategy to analyze their group’s poster. Additionally, students should think critically about how the artist re-envisioned Rockwell’s poster and whether the perceived fear the artist is addressing is the same, or if it has changed.
  6. Each group will briefly present its analysis of the re-designed Rockwell posters.
  7. Each group will then design a poster on an approximately 12 x 18 inches poster board (or roughly one-half of a board) using collaged images and texts to convey a message about a fear they think is present today. Distribute the Poster Design Rubric to each group to review as they begin their design process.
  8. Each group will make an in-class presentation about the poster they designed explaining the choices they made in terms of topic or fear the poster is addressing and their use of text, fonts, images, and colors.
  9. The class should vote on the most successful posters to be uploaded to Interact section of website. (You will need to request to set up a Community Group before images can be uploaded.)
A Case of Intolerance Today

From This American Life episode “Shouting Across the Divide”:

Serry and her husband's love story began in a place not usually associated with romance--The West Bank. That was where the couple met, fell in love, and decided to get married. Then Serry, who was American, convinced her Palestinian husband to move to America. She promised him that in America their children would never encounter prejudice or strife of any kind. But things didn't quite work out that way. This American Life contributor Alix Spiegel tells the story. (33 minutes)

  1. Play the Shouting Across the Divide podcast and download the PDF “Shouting Across the Divide Worksheet”. This is a wonderful and seamless extension after playing Enemy Within or after reading “The Crucible.” This powerful and compelling podcast captivates every student primarily because it features students in schools and issues of intolerance, fear, and prejudice.
  2. After listening to the podcast, allow students some time to complete the worksheet and gather their thoughts for a discussion. Ask them to begin reflecting on what happened during the game Enemy Within as more of their peers were being killed and they faced increasing suspicion of those around them.
      • How did fear of “the other” impact Serry and her family?
      • In what ways was their ability to live or coexist peacefully in the community threatened?
      • In what way, might that fear be similar to the feelings in Salem or during the McCarthy Era?
      • When and where might you experience this fear or similar fears?
      • (Do we experience this fear today when we fly or are in crowded areas?) Is the threat real or perceived?
  3. The following is a list of texts (fiction and nonfiction) as well as films that incorporate the same themes that Enemy Within highlights, which you may also choose to use:

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller (Penguin Classics, 2003)

“Third Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union” known as “Four Freedoms Speech” Franklin D. Roosevelt


PDF for Shouting Across the Divide Worksheet

PDF for Poster Design Rubric


"Third Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union” known as “Four Freedoms Speech”, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The American Presidency Project (americanpresidency.org), John Woolley and Gerhard Peters, University of California, Santa Barbara. Video.

"Why I Wrote 'The Crucible': An artist’s answer to politics" by Arthur Miller. The New Yorker 21 Oct. 1996: 158-64.

"Shouting Across the Divide” by This American Life. Originally aired December 15, 2006 about a Muslim family living in the United States post-September 11. Audio podcast.

If You See Something, Say Something™” Campaign, United States Department of Homeland Security

Visual Thinking Strategies©


Posters, Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell, 1943

Posters, various “Freedom from Fear” posters created for The Wolfsonian’s Thoughts on Democracy: Reinterpreting Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Exhibition