Lively Lessons: April Fools’ Day

FEATURED SOSInstructional idea: modify SOS: Picture It and have students classify these and other historic pranks using student-defined categories.  Robert Marzano identified classification as one of nine high-yield strategies that have a significant effect on student achievement.

In celebration of April Fools’ Day, we look at pranks, lies, deceptions, and half-truths throughout history.

Trojan_horse_circleThe Trojan Horse

Grades 9-12

The Trojan Horse is story of the Greeks building a huge wooden horse, hiding men inside, and then tricking the Trojans into wheeling the horse inside their walled city.  Under the cover of night, the men emerge from the horse and open the city gates to the Greek army, who go on to destroy the city of Troy.


davinci_circleA Real Da Vinci?  Forensic Scientists Investigate Lost Art (start at 20:07)

Grades 6-8

From great heists to meticulous forgeries, the art world is no stranger to deception.  How do experts determine a work’s authenticity when millions of dollars are at stake? Forensic scientists and art historians collaborate and analyze evidence.


magic_gang_circleThe Magic Gang

Grades 6-12

Magician Jasper Maskelyne and The Magic Gang used illusion to defeat Nazis in World War II by creating a fake army with inflatable tanks, building a mock city of Alexandria in the sea, and shrouding tanks and vehicles with new camouflage.


Nixon_circleThe Dirty Tricks Campaign

Grades 9-12

Nixon was fearful of the Democrats in the next presidential campaign and orchestrated a group of men within his administration to perform a series of dirty tricks that would decrease the Democrats’ popularity.  These antics ranged from ordering pizza to be sent cash-on-delivery to rival party campaign sites, to systematic spying, slander, and impersonation of Democratic candidates and campaign workers.


GeorgeEliot_circleGeorge Eliot was Mary Anne Evans

Grades 6-12

When Mary Anne Evans wanted her writing about life’s complexities during the Victorian era to be taken seriously, she selected the pseudonym George Eliot and concocted the story that Eliot was a shy clergyman who wished to remain anonymous.  With her hugely popular work published, she revealed her identity after a man tried to take credit for her writing and was hailed as the greatest living English novelist of the time.



Related posts