Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Unveiling Injustice: A Deep Dive Into Killers of the Flower Moon

The Reign of Terror: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Polly Base, Daniel Schwarz, Amber Hale | Published: March 27th, 2024 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts, Reign of Terror
  • Course Course A.P. Literature and Composition
  • Time Frame Time Frame 270 minutes
  • Duration More 4-5 periods


This lesson centers on Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann which examines the Osage murders of the 1920s. Students analyze the connections between the events depicted in the book and the factual background of the Reign of Terror as presented in an interactive e-learning activity, helping to foster a nuanced understanding of the Osage headrights and murders. Students will create a project displaying their understanding of this tragic episode in history.

Essential Question(s)

How do historical and cultural perspectives contribute to the meaning of a historical text? How do an author’s stylistic choices affect purpose and meaning in a nonfiction text?



Students analyze statements on an Anticipation Guide and determine whether they agree or disagree.


Students read an excerpt from Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann and use Categorical Highlighting to identify unknown vocabulary words, main ideas, and the theme.


Students investigate the events from the Reign of Terror using an interactive e-learning activity, and they compare and contrast the non-fiction text to the interactive e-learning activity using an H-Chart.


Students recall information gathered from the book and e-learning article as they complete a Choice Board project.


Students present their Choice Board projects to the class, which are to be graded with the provided rubric.


  • Class set of Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (optional)

  • Killers of the Flower Moon excerpt (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Lesson slides (attached)

  • Anticipation Guide handout (attached; one per student)

  • Paired Texts H-Chart handout (attached; one per student)

  • Choice Board List of Topics (attached; one per student)

  • Choice Board Project Rubric (attached; one per student)

  • Historical Figures Profile Template (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Highlighters (preferably blue, pink, and yellow)

  • Pens/pencils

  • Computers with Internet access


15 Minute(s)

Begin by opening the attached Lesson Slides and displaying slides 2-4 to review the essential question and lesson objectives with your students. 

Display slide 5. Explain to your students that they will be completing an Anticipation Guide related to the topic of the Osage tribe and the “Reign of Terror.” Pass out the Anticipation Guide handout to your students and instruct them to indicate with a [+] or [-] whether they agree or disagree with each statement.

Display slide 6. Instruct students to discuss their answers with an Elbow Partner. Encourage student groups to share one of the statements upon which they agreed as well as one with which they disagreed.


30 Minute(s)

Display slide 7. Provide students with the attached Killers of the Flower Moon Excerpt and highlighters and ask them to use the Categorical Highlighting strategy to identify unknown vocabulary words, main ideas, and the theme of the novel. Let students know that they should highlight unknown words in blue, main ideas in pink, and the theme in yellow. Instead of explaining why they highlighted certain words in blue, ask the students to come up with a short definition for each word they have highlighted based on the context clues. They should also write explanations of why they highlighted the theme and main ideas. Discuss as a class any questions students may have about the words, main ideas, and themes they have highlighted.


45 Minute(s)

Display slide 8 and pass out the Paired Texts H-Chart handout to your students. Let them know that they will be reading portions of an interactive e-learning article: Reign of Terror: The Osage Murders. They will create a Paired Texts H-Chart to compare the information presented in the book Killers of the Flower Moon with the factual information from the article. They should identify similarities, differences, and additional insights gained from both sources.

Display slides 9-10 and inform students they can select any text highlighted in orange for more information about that person, word, or phrase. To navigate through the reading, they will select the Next button at the bottom of the screen. Students should read independently but remain seated with their groups.

After students finish reading, ask them to spend about five minutes sharing what they wrote in their H-charts with others in their groups. Afterwards, have the whole class reconvene and ask for a few volunteers to share what they wrote with the class.


120 Minute(s)

Display slide 11. Ask students to revisit the Anticipation Guide and choose a statement that will drive the creation of a reflective project. Hand out the Choice Board List of Topics. Invite students to use the information gathered from the book and the e-learning article to create one of the following Choice Board projects.

  • Public Service Announcement - Create a PSA using Flip or Screencastify.

  • Artwork - Create a piece of artwork using digital resources or a makerspace.

  • Infographic - Create an infographic using Canva or Piktochart.

  • Timeline - Using Canva, Piktochart or a makerspace, create a timeline of events.

  • Playlist - Put together songs of the Osage, the 1920s, and today.

  • Historical Figure Profile - Follow the instructions in the Teacher’s Note below.

  • Digital or makerspace Collage - Create a collage that conveys the atrocity using pictures, articles, and symbols.

  • Infographic - Create an infographic that focuses on the laws that were passed and their impact on the Osage people. 

  • Venn Diagram- Compare the Reign of Terror to a similar modern atrocity (Students have option of using Venn Diagram app).

Each project should be accompanied by a reflective piece of writing justifying the student’s choice of projects. Each writing piece should include the following:

  • The Anticipation Guide statement 

  • Facts/data (quotes) from Killers of the Flower Moon and the e-learning activity

  • Connection between the Reign of Terror Osage murders to a modern atrocity

  • Explanation of the project (why it was chosen and how it reflects your understanding of the lesson)

Before students begin planning their projects and presentations, pass out copies of the Choice Board Project Rubric to each student and make sure that your students understand your expectations for the assignment.


60 Minute(s)

Display slide 12 and review the presentation process with your students. As students present their projects, evaluate their projects and presentations using the attached Choice Board Project Rubric.