Lesson 10

Putting Our Skills to the Test: Preparing For A Civil Trial

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SWBAT use evidence and close reading skills to read through multiple accounts related to a trial.

Big Idea

I object! You're Out of Order! Defending someone's rights take a lot of reading skills. Are you up to the challenge?


15 minutes

This is the first day in a 2 day lesson on an actual court room simulation made by Scholastic. The simulation can take quite a while to get through, so I broke this up over two days. It is an amazing resource though, so it's definitely worth the time.

In our next lesson we will work through a courtroom simulation that shows the entire court process from beginning to end. You will be divided into two groups. The plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff is the one that requests the case or the innocent party. The defendant is the person accused of doing something wrong. The case we will work on is a civil case that revolves around an accident. The plaintiff was riding her bike when she was hit by the defendant as he was driving. The defendant says the plaintiff flew out into traffic and he couldn't stop. The plaintiff says the defendant was being reckless. It will be up to you to hear the case and make decisions throughout the trial. Do you have any questions?

Once I answer all of their questions, I like to have my kids read all of the case file information first. The website provides all of the casefile information once you start the simulation, but I like to have it for my kiddos to peek at on day one so that they are familiar with the whole process. I'll show them an example on the board first before letting them get into groups. 

You will each get a case file filled with information about a civil trial that you will run tomorrow. You will either work for the defendant or the plaintiff. In a moment, I'll get you started on the case file. 

Preparing for A Court Trial

40 minutes

First, I'll review a little bit from previous days. 

Before going to court, you will need to sift through all of the evidence. You don't know who you will be defending tomorrow, so you have to be prepared for both sides. Also, it's really important to know both sides of the story to help strengthen your case. With your table groups you will read through all of the information provided. Make notes, have discussions and read carefully. Tomorrow's outcome depends on you. 

While the students are reading in groups, I'll be moving around to help keep them on task. This is just to get them familiar with the case so that they'll be more confident in the next lesson. This also helps to motivate them to read, as well. There isn't actual reading instruction in this today. I want them to be responsible for trying to figure some things out on their own. I can't guide them through everything they're going to read, so they definitely need some of these experiences.