IRONWOOD - High school students in Megan Maki's honors English class practiced literary law and order Tuesday.
The project involved arguing for or against charging a character from William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" with involuntary manslaughter.
The book involves a group of British school boys being stranded on a deserted island. Over time, the boys take on a savage nature, resulting in dangerous situations and the untimely deaths of a few of the children.
"Because this is an honors class, I wanted to find something challenging for them," Maki said. "The students had to have structured arguments and really get involved in the project."
For the Ironwood students, character Jack Merridew, 13, was charged with the deaths of two of the other characters, Simon and Piggy.
"The students had to argue whether or not Jack was innocent or guilty" Maki said. "We had a prosecution, defense, jury members, (principal) Michelle Kanipes was our judge and we even had witnesses."
The plan, according to Maki, was to leave time at the end of class to have the jury deliberate the case, but things were just too good to stop. "We went right up to the bell," Maki said. "The students were making such good points that I couldn't interrupt them."
Merridew was found guilty in the class courtroom.
Maki said both sides did a "great job. The students really enjoyed this. I don't think they realized that in order to do this, they had to have a deep understanding of the novel. It was fun in their eyes, but they really learned a lot."
Maki said it is nice to have room to be creative with curriculum, because of support from the administration.
"It makes a huge difference," she said. "The kids were really excited about this project. I use a personal quote in situations like this which is, 'Education is not about filling the pail, but lighting the fire.' This lights a fire for them, to be interested in learning, versus just filling them with knowledge."