Learning About Christopher Columbus By Putting Him on Trial

Last fall, teacher Michael Palermo called Columbus’s crew to the witness stand. Wilfredo Lopez Murcia, a student at Wakefield High School in Virginia, strolled to the front of the classroom, followed by classmate Jhonnatan Moya Miranda.

“Hello, mates,” Wilfredo quipped, giving a short salute to his peers.

Wilfredo and Jhonnatan were about to defend themselves in The People vs. Columbus, et al. trial, a social studies role play that encourages critical thinking about European colonization of the Americas…