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Mock Trial teaching experience
This is so great @kterrell. It is funny too. I wish I was in your class when this event was going on. The students will definitely remember this lesson. Great, great job!
Wow. What an amazing idea!! Thank you so much for sharing. I wish I could have been there each day to watch!
I had a 2nd grade mock trial one year for the assault and battery of “Snowflake”, our classroom Elf on the Shelf. The kids were always wanting to play with it, despite not being allowed to. So, one day when we came back in and found Snowflake laying on the ground, i wrapped her in fake bandages and told the class she’d be gone for a few days recuperating. A few days later, I brought her back, and told the class she wanted to press charges on who she thought had dropped her, and we preceded to have a trial.
I appointed 2 kids as prosecuting attorneys (one of those kids Dad was a city detective btw), and 2 other students as defense attorneys. They were allowed to have 3 witnesses each among the class, and the remaining students were on the jury. I played the Judge. Both sets of attorneys had to conduct interviews of the kids so they could pick out who their best witnesses might be, then put them on the stand. The non witnesses had to listen in “the jury box”, which was just chairs I had rearranged in the room.
The prosecutors went first, and ended up having a character witness who described how the defendant had gotten in trouble during lunch and recess prior to the “assault”, followed by a witness who claimed they’d heard her say she didn’t like the elf “Snowflake”, and lastly they had a witness who had claimed to have seen her do it as he sat at his desk.
The defense attorneys were hilarious. First, they got the first witness on cross examination to admit that the entire K-2 grades had gotten in trouble at lunch for talking, not just the defendant. Next, they cross examined the witness who said they’d heard her threaten the doll, and got him to admit that other kids had complained every so often about the elf on the shelf lesson we were doing. Lastly, just like a Perry Mason show, they did a demonstration in the classroom stating that the eyewitness must be lying, because he was at the pencil sharpener at the time and not at his desk, and therefore couldnt have seen the defendant at all across the room.
The defense then put up 2 character witnesses telling how nice of a friend the defendant was, and a 3rd witness who they questioned hard as a potential alternate suspect! (this student had gotten in trouble previously for playing with the doll lol).
Both sides were allowed to have a closing argument, and then in went to the jury. During deliberations, the defendant admitted she had done it….but the jury didn’t hear her say it as they were deliberating in the room across the hall, and I as judge didn’t let that into evidence lol.
The jury came back and found her not guilty, as they believed that the other student (the boy in trouble before) had done it. I then explained that the jury had done a great job, but had actually been mistaken, the girl apologized, each student had to write about the experience and what they’d learned about it, and we had alot of talks about truth, the justice system, lessons they could take from it, how it made them feel, etc etc.