ALEX Learning Activity


French Revolution: Off with your head!

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ashley Riner
System:Alabaster City
School:Alabaster City Board Of Education
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1527
French Revolution: Off with your head!
Digital Tool/Resource:
Why Public Beheadings Get Millions of Views/TED Talk Video
Web Address – URL:

In this learning activity, students watch a video that describes the world's obsession over time with public beheadings including current events like ISIS.

CONTENT WARNING- This is a topic for upper secondary students with appropriate guidance.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 9
World History: 1500 to the Present
7 ) Describe the impact of the French Revolution on Europe, including political evolution, social evolution, and diffusion of nationalism and liberalism.

•  Identifying causes of the French Revolution
•  Describing the influence of the American Revolution on the French Revolution
•  Identifying objectives of different groups participating in the French Revolution
•  Describing the role of Napoléon Bonaparte as an empire builder
Insight Unpacked Content
Strand: Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: World History: 1500 to the Present
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Analyze the influences and causes of the French Revolution.
  • Describe the influence the American Revolution had on the French Revolution.
  • Compare and contrast the objectives of the different groups that participated in the French Revolution.
  • Discuss the importance of Napoleon Bonaparte and the role he played in Europe.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • French Revolution
  • political evolution
  • social evolution
  • nationalism
  • liberalism
  • American Revolution
Students know:
  • Describe the impact of the French Revolution on political and social thought.
Students are able to:
  • Analyze historical and political thoughts and actions using primary resources such as literature and visual art.
  • Analyze the role of key components in a historical situation using primary resources including literature, visual art, and maps.
  • Compare and contrast the thoughts, actions, and motives of historical groups.
Students understand that:
  • The French Revolution had a significant impact on political and social thought.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.9.7- Define revolution.
SS.AAS.9.7a - Identify causes, people, and key events of the French Revolution.
SS.AAS.9.7a - Define nationalism and liberalism.

Learning Objectives:

The students will be able to describe the impact of the French Revolution on Europe, including political evolution, social evolution, and diffusion of nationalism and liberalism.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

1. Discuss with students the invention of the guillotine and how it became the major tool of executions during the French Revolution. 

2. After presenting this information, ask the students to raise their hand if they think people still swarm to public killings today? 

3. After listening to a few responses, introduce the video which will discuss the speaker's opinion of public beheadings. 

4. Watch the video. 

5. Exit ticket: Have the students write down whether they feel the speaker is correct on the world's current fascination with public beheadings and why they believe that? 

Assessment Strategies:

The exit ticket responses will allow the teacher to assess whether students grasped the concept of public beheadings in the French Revolution, and how it still impacts us today. 

Advanced Preparation:

Watch the video prior to showing to students. It does not show anything graphic, but it is heavy material. You will want to determine if it is right for each class. 

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: beheadings, French Revolution, guillotine