Behold the cautionary tale of Justin Laboy, an 18-year-old high school senior who agreed to sell a baggie of marijuana in a foolish attempt to impress the new hottie at school – a girl who turned out to be a 25-year-old undercover police officer. Yes, it’s a real-life version of a 21 Jump Street episode that concludes with a broken heart and a felony conviction.
Justin Laboy’s case was featured on This American Life’s NPR podcast. In this lesson, students will listen to the 13-minute podcast episode and answer a set of questions. Then, they’ll compare the podcast episode to a 16-minute musical version created by Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda.
This download includes:
• Suggested lesson procedure with links to online “21 Chump Street” podcast and video content (also included below on this product description page)
• Handout with ten short-answer questions to guide analysis of the podcast (answer key included)
• Handout with seven short-answer questions (group activity or solo work) to help students compare the musical version with the original NPR broadcast (answer key included)
Student handouts are included as both printable PDF and Google Drive versions.
Note: This lesson was built for grades 11 and 12 because the story focuses on drugs being sold at school; the materials, however, would also work with 8th, 9th, and 10th grades since there aren’t any swear words or otherwise objectionable content. If you’re uncertain about the appropriateness of the content, please preview the media before purchasing these lesson materials. The podcast can be accessed here:
The musical can be accessed here (play from 21:33 timestamp to 38:00):
Download includes: 5-page PDF + Google Drive version of handouts (uneditable)
Want students to learn more about Lin-Manuel Miranda? Check out this student-led author research activity.
Please note: This item is included in my Short Story Unit Plan for Older Teens. To avoid a double-purchase, please do not buy the item on this page if you also intend to buy the budget-priced short story bundle.
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