Mock Trial

mock trial

This apprenticeship combines an exploration of our legal system with skill-building in communication. Students will learn about the core elements of a trial from the perspectives of lawyers, judges, bailiffs, and witnesses and then will practice communicating in a courtroom through a Mock Trial that they lead. The first few lessons expose students to legal concepts, vocabulary, and opportunities to practice communicating through a variety of roles in a trial. Then the apprenticeship shifts into preparation for a Mock Trial where students will analyze a specific case, select roles to play in the trial, and develop persuasive presentations of their role. After participating in that Mock Trial in an actual courtroom in Week 8, students will reflect on that experience and prepare presentations for their WOW!. This will include an explanation and analysis of the Mock Trial they led as well as an interactive presentation on our legal system that allows students to become teachers for their community: sharing information about how to navigate trials and courts and then quizzing the audience.

This apprenticeship embeds communication skill-building -- which is essential for college and a variety of careers -- within content about our court system. In an age where the U. S. criminal justice system imprisons more American citizens than any other point in human history, the framing around a Mock Trial allows students to engage with a topic that is relevant, high stakes, and interesting to many students.