Lesson Plan: Social Studies


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 cultural practices in a community.

History is more than memorizing facts; it is also about developing practical skills in essential areas such as: chronological thinking, historical and narrative comprehension, historical analysis and interpretation, research, issue analysis and decision making.

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 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 games are 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 research on the Salem Witch Trials.
  3. Guiding Questions (Adapt depending on how you may be approaching The Salem Witch Trials.)
      • To those that were eliminated immediately “during the night”- how did it feel to be removed so suddenly?
      • To those that 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 sense of community that developed during this game. How were you all able to come to a consensus, despite the short 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 argument, or other factors to help you reach a decision?

  4. After the students have debriefed 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 Primary Source Materials

The Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project website is an excellent source of information about this series of events in American history. This lesson is designed to engage students in the use of primary source documents, such as maps, court records, personal letters, and personal narratives.

  1. Students may begin to explore and can research particular individuals involved in the trials by clicking on “Documents and Transcriptions” at the top of the website and then clicking “People.” Categories have been developed of those who were “Executed,” “Died in Jail,” “Officials,” “Trial Critics,” “Afflicted’ Girls,” and “Defenders of the Accused” among others. From here students can examine the narratives of the people involved, their station/office/profession (socio-economic standing) in Salem, as well as find links to their trial transcripts.
  2. Students may begin to recognize a pattern in who was accused in the early stages of the epidemic as it progressed throughout Salem and neighboring towns. One way to see how this pattern developed is to examine one of the maps. From the Main/Home page, click on “Maps,” and then find the “Province of Mass Bay 1692/Regional Accusations Map,” the “Province of Mass Bay 1692/Township Accusations Map,” or the “Map of Witchcraft Accusations, February 29-March 31 1692.” This map is active and shows the literal growth and spread of the accusations much like a disease epidemic.
      • Thinking about how the accusations appear to spread and why: What, if anything, might have prevented it or slowed its progression?
      • Thinking about the characteristics of the people accused and hanged (or those who died in jail) in Salem:
      • What did they have in common?
      • Why were they targeted?
      • Was there any gender bias in the accusations?
      • What about children? What were their roles in the trials?
      • How did one’s profession or wealth factor into their involvement in the trials?
      • Which individuals were never targeted?
      • How did the accused defend themselves?
      • Why were those accused almost required to become an informant?
      • Thinking about playing the game Enemy Within, and how your 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 this behavior?
  3. Thinking about the game when you and your classmates were being killed and you faced increasing suspicions of each other, what emotions were you feeling? In what way, might those feelings be similar to the feelings in Salem and the neighboring towns?
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.)
McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities
  1. McCarthyism: a mid-20th century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges; broadly: defamation of character or reputation through such tactics. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
  2. McCarthyism relates specifically to U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and his conduct while in office. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 2003 published original transcripts of executive sessions held while Senator McCarthy was chair. (We have included a PDF of Volume One, Executive Sessions of The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of The Committee on Government Operations.) The following questions pertain to the “Preface” of Volume One, which you may read aloud or print out for your students to read to prepare to answer and discuss them:
      • When and why the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was originally created?
      • When was Senator McCarthy the Chairman of this Subcommittee? Why is the period under Senator McCarthy “remembered differently”?
      • How/Why was Roy M. Cohn chosen by Senator McCarthy? What was Cohn’s recollection of his conversation with Senator McCarthy? How did Cohn’s lack of professional experience reflect on the way the hearings were conducted?
      • How was McCarthy managing his staff and members of the subcommittee?
  3. Read and discuss how the rights of the witnesses were violated.
      • By whom and when was the term McCarthyism coined? How were the “executive” hearing procedures manipulated by McCarthy? How would you describe McCarthy’s questioning approach?
      • What was a “fifth amendment communist”? What is the Bill of Rights?
      • How did the Supreme Court change direction after the 1957 ruling in Yates vs. U.S.? How did this decision affect the Bill of Rights?
      • How did the rules for conducting Subcommittee hearings change? What happened in 1954 to Senator McCarthy?
      • How many people were actually imprisoned for perjury, contempt, espionage, or subversion during McCarthy’s chairmanship?
  4. In their hunt for subversion and espionage, Senator McCarthy and chief counsel Cohn conducted hearings on the State Department, the Voice of America, the U.S. overseas libraries, the Government Printing Office, and the Army Signal Corps. There is a five-volume collection of Senate hearings transcripts available online: Volumes 1-4 cover the 1953 hearings; the 1954 hearings are found in Volume 5. To find out more about McCarthy’s questioning tactics research these primary sources.
  5. The “Preface” was written by members of the Senate Historical Office.
      • Where could you find other sources of information with different points of view of these events? Why do you think it’s important to do this?
  6. The transcripts of testimony during the hearings provide rich primary source materials for your students to further explore and better understand the type of questions that were asked of witnesses and how they responded. Select testimonies for students to read aloud in class and facilitate a discussion about the committee’s questions and answers of the witnesses.
  7. There are also multiple historical documents, both print and non-print, that deal with issues of intolerance and its symptoms (isolation, scapegoating, paranoia, power over others, and distrust). History provides us with rich resources and the list of documents below contains primary sources and texts in a variety of media:
      • The Twentieth Century: A People’s History by Howard Zinn; Chapter 5: A People’s War? This chapter focuses on the Korean War into McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
        The Hollywood Ten and HUAC hearings. (1947)
      • Peter Seeger, “Thou Shall Not Sing” (1989) written in response to the Peekskill riot in September 1949
      • Edward R. Murrow’s news commentary critical of McCarthy and the HUAC on his "See It Now" show (1953)
      • I. F. Stone, “But It’s Not Just Joe McCarthy” (March 15, 1954). A noted journalist who challenges the entire anti-Communist hysteria and Cold War framework.
      • United States Department of Homeland Security, “If You See Something, Say Something™” Campaign