Jack the Ripper
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Worksheets and Interactive Exercises

1. What was the East End like in 1888?
Students are introduced to the terrible social conditions that prevailed in East End of London and make deductions about how these could have helped "Jack". They are presented with a list of the problems and deprivations in the East End and consider how each would have helped the killer. They also analyse an extract from a report produced at the time and rank the problems listed within it from the most horrendous downwards.
2. Who were Jack's victims?
Students investigate the sad lives of each of Jack's victims - Polly Nicholls, Annie Chapman, Lizzie Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly - and compare similarities and differences between them by construcing parallel timelines. Were these women to blame for the condition they found themselves in by 1888, or were they victims of the system?
3. The Police Investigation
This worksheet introduces Charles Warren and Sir Robert Anderson, the policemen in charge of the investigation. Students consider a detailed list of the measures that could have been taken and try to deduce which ones were simply not possible at the time; which ones were possible but which were vetoed by the Home Office and why; and which ones were actually taken but why they nevertheless failed. They then have to consider whether Queen Victoria was right to suggest that the police were failing to do all they could to catch the murderer.
4. Video Worksheet [1]: An overview of the Jack the Ripper murders and the investigation
This worksheet accompanies the first 40 minutes of the video available from here . It provides a good overview of the East End, the victims and the problems faced by the police.
5. What did Jack look like?
Using witness reports from the crime scenes, students build up their own profile of the killer. How old was he? What social background? What witnesses can be trusted? Why are there such discrepancies between the witness reports?
6. What was Jack's personality like?
Students analyse the gruesome "Dear Boss" letter to make deductions about Jack's character. Was he educated? Was he an egomaniac? Can we trust this evidence?
7. Other evidence about Jack
Students are presented with other key facts about Jack and use this to make their own deductions about the killer. These ideas can then serve as the basis for a lively discussion in class.
8. Who was Jack the Ripper? [interactive]
Armed with the profiles that they have built up, students go to this ActiveHistory Simulation which asks them a series of questions about what they think they now know about the personality and appearance of the Ripper. The computer then analyses their responses to present them with a list of the most likely suspects based on their preferences. The simulation also asks a series of factual questions as it progresses and gives them a score at the end. A Worksheet accompanies the simulation, which also brings in fresh evidence such as the 1988 FBI profile, the 2006 EFIT profile and the coroner's reports. The simulation should occupy at least 30 minutes, and the follow-up debate a similar amount of time.
9. Video Worksheet [2]: Who were the top suspects?
This worksheet accompanies the final 20 minutes of the video available from here. In this part of the documentary, the top suspects are suggested and the video narrator offers his own view on who the murderer was. This is a stimulating way of following the classroom debate and usually provides some lively discussion.
10. Consequences of the murders
A consolidating lesson which looks at the social outcomes of the Ripper murders.
11. Maxi-sourcework assessment
Complete with markscheme to test knowledge and understanding (1 hour).
12. Mini-Sourcework exercise on Jack the Ripper
Complete with markscheme to test knowledge and understanding (30 minutes).

Interactive exercises to round the unit off

1.

Jack the Ripper Arcade Games
Play a Manic Miner, Cannonball Fun, Wordshoot or Snap! quiz

2. Life in Whitechapel: PowerPoint Presentation on Jack the Ripper
Kindly submitted by Mr. McDonald.

Audio-Visual resources

 

1. Jack the Ripper - Recommended
Drama documentary by Richard Jones, who does the guided tours through Whitechapel. I show the first part (40 mins) at the beginning of the unit as this focuses on the murders and the victims (worksheet 1). I show the second part (20 mins) at the end of the unit, as this focuses on deducing from the evidence who The Ripper was (worksheet 2). Students can then discuss why they did or did not agree with this analysis based on their own research.
VHS
2. Jack the Ripper - PC Game
It's got good reviews on Amazon!
DVD
3. Jack the Ripper
1988 Drama Documentary starring Michael Caine
DVD
4. Jack the Ripper Conspiracies
Make your own judgements on who is 'Jack The Ripper' as we visit the murder sites and meet the women who fell victim to his knife.
DVD

History in the News for Jack the Ripper

1. How fearless Forty Elephants girl gang terrorised 19th century London The very mention of the name The Forty Elephants, a crime syndicate made up exclusively of young women, would send shivers down the spines of West End shop owners.
2. Doubts over Ripper 'memoirs' find  
3. Census shows Jack the Ripper victims led "respectable" lives  
4. Genealogy Site Details Lives of 'Jack the Ripper' Victims  
5. Geographic Profiling Works: Great White Sharks' Hunting Skills As Refined As Jack The Ripper's Geographic Profiling Works: Great White Sharks' Hunting Skills As Refined As Jack The Ripper's
6. Was notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper a woman?  
7. Madman's notes throw new light on Ripper case  

 

 

 


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