The Scopes Trial – A Mini-Unit

Lesson Duration

Author:  Scott W. DeWitt

Using the movie Inherit the Wind, text books and internet research students learn about the Scopes Trial.  The analyze the key facts, arguments, individuals and historical events.  Students engage in an analysis of the different media they have used in looking at this famous trial, and how the media impacts the presentation of the facts.  This lesson can be found at  Update on Law-Related Education, 23.1, 1999, pp. 37–38.


As a result of this lesson, students will

  • Identify the Scopes trial’ s key facts, arguments, and outcomes
  • Analyze significant individuals’ impact on the trial’s events and results
  • Compare/evaluate the historical accuracy of their textbook, the movie Inherit the Wind, and Web sites


Update on Law-Related Education is published by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Public Education. Update helps secondary teachers of civics, government, history, and law, as well as law-related education program developers, to educate students about the law and legal issues.