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Lesson Plan Title: Who are the Criminals?

Date: TBD

Subject: Law30 Grade: 12

Topic: Demographics of Criminality

Essential Question: Why do people commit crimes? What do Canada’s crime demographics
say about our morals, stereotypes, and equality?

Estimated duration of lesson: 2-3 class periods; approx. 2 hours

Materials: Innocence Project website, index cards, sheet for 6 theories of criminology, link to
youtube video, link to crime statistics website (Stats Canada)

Stage 1- Desired Results – you may use student friendly language

What do they need to understand, know, and/or able to do?
By the end of this lesson students should understand the basic ideology behind differing theories
of criminology and should be able to link these theories to the reasons that crimes are committed.
Students should also recognize that demographics and crime statistics (in Canada and across the
world) often display inequities. They should be able to link these inequities to societal
perceptions of oppressed groups and stereotypes. Students will more deeply understand the
overrepresentation of First Nations Populations in crime statistics. Finally, students will be able to
critically examine cases of wrongful conviction as they relate to societal stereotypes and

Broad Areas of Learning:

Sense of Self, Community, and Place: This lesson contribute to students’ national and local
identities as we explore the inequities and statistics on criminology present within their own
communities. This will also help develop a connection to their place as the statistics and
inequities explored are prevalent not only within their country, but most likely within their city/
town as well.

Lifelong Learners: The content of this lesson will emphasize social inequities within societies as
they relate to criminology. This will prompt students to want to learn more about justice and legal
happenings throughout their futures. The prevalence of racialized events in the news will
undoubtedly plague students in their futures, so the content and skills learned throughout this
lesson will aid in their continued critical understandings of these future issues.

Engaged Citizens: This lesson will engage students with their local politics and communities quite
explicitly as social injustices are so heavily emphasized. Although the lesson focuses mostly on the
issues within Canadian criminality, the infusion of optimistic undertones will encourage students
to be agents of social change. Students will also realize how important these issues are in their
immediate environments, prompting them to engage with and care about these topics.

Cross-Curricular Competencies:
Develop Identity and Interdependence: This lesson will encourage students to understand and care
for different individuals and groups within their society as inequities are discussed. They will be
encouraged in identity growth as they are asked to reflect on their own beliefs on these
controversial and important issues.
Develop Literacies: Literacies in technology, research skills, critical evaluation, and
communication will be only some of the most prevalent literacies targeted throughout this lesson.
Competence in a number of subject areas will be drawn upon as this lesson explores theories
behind criminology and applying that knowledge to real-life statistics.
Develop Social Responsibility: This lesson will encourage students to be agents of social change as
they become more exposed to the realities of social inequality throughout our legal system. By
having students research and reflect upon the issues in crime statistics students will, ideally, be
prompted to feel a pressing need for change and will hopefully begin to take ownership of that
Outcome(s): *outcomes are annotated as curriculum outlines great detail in objectives.
Annotations are directly from curriculum and summarize objective outcomes

Concepts and Knowledge Objective: Demographics and Values

Skills/Abilities Objectives: Apply Inquiry Skills; Gather information from statistical data
Value Objectives: Appreciate that the criminal justice system is a tool of social policy;
Contemplate various theories regarding causes of crime; clarify personal viewpoints regarding
causes of crime;

PGP Goals:
PGP 1.3 a commitment to social justice and the capacity to nurture an inclusive and equitable environment for
the empowerment of all learners;
4.2 the ability to incorporate First Nations, Metis, and Inuit knowledge, content and perspective into all
teaching areas

Stage 2- Assessment

Assessment FOR Learning (formative) Assess the students during the learning to help determine
next steps.

Aside from the ongoing formative assessment performed by the teacher throughout the lesson by
reading student body language, facial expressions, and general contributions to gage
comprehension and interest. In combination with this ongoing assessment, class polls will be
commonplace throughout the lecture portion of the lesson.

Exit slip(s) will be used at the end of every class period as this lesson is designed to span multiple
class periods (ideally 2-3 class periods, depending on school schedule).

The group work and collaborative brainstorming will also serve as a form of formative assessment
as the teacher can see students’ individual abilities to grasp and apply their skills and
understandings without singling any students out.

Assessment OF Learning (summative) Assess the students after learning to evaluate what they
have learned.

While there will be no standalone summative assessment piece for this specific lesson, the
reflective journal piece at the end of the day that has students focusing on articulating possibly
points of inquiry will allow the teacher to see how well students have understood and integrated
the content of this lesson.

The content of this lesson will become important in summative assessment pieces slightly later in
the unit, therefore there is no individualized summative piece for this lesson.
Stage 3- Learning Plan

Motivational/Anticipatory Set (introducing topic while engaging the students)

This lesson will open with a News clip on statistics in Canada that highlights the disparity between
homicide rates in general populations and that of Indigenous populations.

This video will get students interested to learn about crime rates and demographics as the idea of
learning about “statistics" doesn’t always sound appealing. Showing this video of practical and
applied statistics will hook the students.

Main Procedures/Strategies:

1.Reasons for Crime (40 minutes)

- Teacher will open the lesson with a lecture and discussion on current research .6 theories of
criminal activity will be explored. A multidisciplinary approach will be taken as research from
the fields of psychology, criminology, sociology and more are compiled to try to explain why
crime occurs.
- We will discuss 6 theories of criminology: classical, biological, phsychobiological,
psychological, sociological, and interactionist theories- students will be provided with a chart
to fill in details on the 6 different theories
- Main points from each theory to be briefly discussed are as follows:
- Classical: emphasizes that people have free will and weigh the pros and cons before
making a decision (such as the decision to commit a crime). This theory assumes that
people are rational and therefore suggests punishment as a deterrent for crime.
- Biological: This theory emphasizes determinism and suggests that an individuals
uncontrollable or innate characteristics and genetics will determine their behaviours.
- psychobiological: This theory suggests that a combination of factors such as DNA,
environmental contaminants, nutrition, hormones, trauma, etc all contribute to
criminal behaviour. All of these factors affect individuals and are used to explain
criminal behaviour.
- psychological: Psychological theories explain criminal behaviour as a result of an
individual’s way of thinking, their feelings, and experiences. There are many
psychological theories of criminology, but they all rely on individual thinking processes
and experiences.
- sociological: This theory argues that social environment affects individual behaviour.
For example, unhealthy family situations, broken relationships, schools, or religious
pressures could affect an individual enough to push them toward criminal behaviour.
This theory explains criminal behaviour as a sort of "acting out”.
- interactionist: This theory says that criminal behaviour is caused largely by association
with other criminals. It also emphasizes a lack of self-direction and inadequate social
roles as cause for criminal behaviour.
2. Demographics (15 minutes)
- We will then examine the demographics of Canadian crime statistics on the following website.
- We can explore and discuss this website as a class as discussion leads.
- We will also identify any obvious patterns and relationships between conviction rates,
homicide rates, and different social factors (ex poverty, race, education level, area of
residence etc).
- Ask students to think about whether these statistics remind them of any of the theories we
just learned about.

*An exit slip will be required form students at the end of the first day of the lesson, no matter
when that period ends.

3. Wrongful Conviction (40 minutes)

- Students will be asked to rely on the knowledge they learned during the lesson on the
Presumption of Innocence to explore wrongful conviction as it intersects with demographics. A
class discussion and exploration of the Innocence Project website will take place in class
- Guided by what knowledge and interests students have demonstrated thus far throughout the
lesson, the teacher will have students complete some research to gain a more comprehensive
understanding of crime statistics in Canada. Students will be allowed to research whatever
avenue of crime statistics peaks their interest, as the only requirement for the in-class
assignment is to find a minimum of 3 pieces of information regarding Canada’s crime stats.
- We will then compile what we have learned through our individual research in an index-card-
bulletin board. Everyone will contribute a minimum of 3 index cards of information related to
crime statistics. This way students are able to gain skills in individual research yet they can
learn from the shared wealth of knowledge that they have learned as a class.


- a microphone and speaker system will be used if/when one is available within the classroom
which will aim to help those students who may struggle to focus, those who may have hearing
impairments, EAL students, and the overall comprehension of the large group.

- Those students who require assistive technology due to any form of exceptionality will be
permitted and encouraged to do so.

- Students who may be struggling with the content and may be falling behind will be given
additional one-on-one time with the teacher for further examples and explanations at lunch
or before/after school if schedule and teacher availability permits. Should this additional
time not work out, these struggling students may be offered alternative deadlines as time can
be one of the best gifts for overwhelmed students. In-class adaptations will also be
incorporated without singling students out as group and class work will be utilized regularly.
The teacher may also utilize stronger students in providing additional examples or
explanations in class-time if the situation permits.

- Students who are gifted or excelling in this content area will be encouraged to take their
learning one step further either by contributing more to the research component, and/or by
providing explanation for the crime statistics using our learnt theories of criminology. If time
allows they could also be challenged to reach out to local authorities via a letter or tweet
addressing one of their researched statistics representing social inequality.
- Differentiation throughout this lesson centres around the variety of instructional strategy as
students who identify with all learning styles will be engaged at some point of the lesson. The
combination of the use of video, hands-on research, group work and collaborative problem
solving, and auditory information presentation will ideally engage a variety of learners.

Closing of lesson:

The lesson will close by having students reflect in their personal journals on the issues brought up
and discussed throughout this lesson. They will be asked to write about something that interests
them from the lesson, whether it be regarding theories of criminology, demographics and
statistics, or wrongful conviction. What would they like to learn more about in future lessons?
They will be asked to hand this entry in so that the teacher may adapt future lessons to better
address the information that students wish to learn more about.
Ms. MacPherson’s Law30 Name:


Theories of Criminology

Theory of Criminology Main Arguments Example Scenario