Lesson 7

Jurors are supposed to be honest, right?

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SWBAT think about how bias affects a viewpoint.

Big Idea

If your mom is a police officer, would you side with a police witness or a friend of the person charged with a crime?


This is the second day of preparation for the Scholastic courtroom simulation. Today students will review the concept of bias to think about whether a juror would be completely honest and look only at the facts when deciding the fate of a person charged with a crime.  I've included a basic examples of how I would set up my SMART board notebook for the lesson today. 


5 minutes

Today we're going to revisit a skill we learned during our nonfiction unit. What do you remember about bias? To refresh your memory, we'll watch a quick video that I created for you a few months ago. After watching, think about this: What does bias have to do with being a jury member? 




Considering Bias

15 minutes

I'd like to start off today reading the Voir Dire section of the Jury Selection handout. This is a really important concept and helps us understand why it's so important to consider bias when we choose our jurors. If a juror is biased, they may judge the defendant based on his or her beliefs instead of the evidence. Let's read this section to get a better idea. 

At this point I may give a few examples of a biased juror before going on to model how to complete the first activity. A few thoughts were going through my mind when I grabbed this sheet to implement. I didn't just find this online and throw it into a lesson. 


5 minutes

My kids will wrap up today by completing an exit tickets about jurors. 

What would happen if we let someone serve jury duty and they didn't like the type of person that was on trial? What if that person was really innocent? 

I'll be taking a look at these to see if the kids get the point that jurors have to be as unbiased as possible for the system to be fair. I don't think that this will be much of an issue for them, though. I know that a lesson like this doesn't involve much reading, but the skills necessary to be able to evaluate sources and information can be developed in other ways. I want my kids to understand that these skills are used throughout life, not just when reading text. 

I'll also use a few minutes to let the students discuss their perspectives.