Field Trips Return to the Moakley Courthouse!

After a hiatus due to COVID-19, Discovering Justice is reopening its Field Trips to high school teachers and students this spring.

Field trips with Discovering Justice invite students to explore the workings of the courthouse as well as the themes and ideals of justice and democracy. While on a guided tour featuring interactive courtroom activities, students are encouraged to view, analyze, and discuss key features of the courthouse and the operations of the justice system.

High School Field Trips can include a tour of the Moakley Federal Courthouse, a Q&A session with a Federal Judge, and/or an opportunity to observe a live trial and judicial proceedings.

Through the program, students increase their understanding of the functions, roles, and structures in the American justice system, expanding their justice-related vocabulary and participating in activities both in the courtroom and the classroom. Field trips help students to cultivate their identities as active members of our democracy and to see the justice system not as a stagnant institution, but something they can utilize and engage with through civic action.

If you are a High School teacher who is interested in bringing your class for a Field Trip at the Moakley, contact Program Manager Henry Schunk at

Middle & Elementary School Field Trips will be available later this spring. If you are interested in Middle & Elementary School Field Trips to the Moakley Courthouse, contact Henry Schunk at

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The 2021 Discovering Justice Annual Report

For more than two decades, Discovering Justice has helped students make sense of the nation’s justice system and explore the question: “What is justice, and how do I use my voice to advocate for it?” You will see in Discovering Justice’s 2021 Annual Report, that with the support of hundreds of legal mentors and dedicated educators, our students continue to grapple with this simple, yet complex, question.

Starting as early as Kindergarten, our programs help students examine “Little J” justice issues: how to look at micro-level fairness, and how to practice justice with friends and family at school, at home, and on the playground. The programs then pivot to help students explore the “Big J” justice issues embedded in the framework of our nation’s justice system and how these institutions impact our communities.

Take a look at the Annual Report to see how our programs help students identify injustice and inequalities in their daily lives and connect them to macro-level democratic systems. This approach encourages students to embrace their roles and responsibilities, bring justice and fairness to their communities, and engage in civic activity and potential careers.

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Photo/Reba Saldanha Reilly Elementary School Lowell, MA Friday June 6, 2016

Teaching Civics in Elementary Schools

How can we cultivate our young students’ civic identity, knowledge, skills, and dispositions so they are prepared to be active and thoughtful members of our democracy?

On April 6, as part of the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition webinar series, Discovering Justice Education Program Director Laura Brenner will lead the interactive workshop, Civic Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions in the Elementary Classroom. Participants will engage with the history and social science practice standards and Discovering Justice’s new Children Discovering Justice Curriculum. The webinar, geared to teachers and administrators, aims to deepen understanding of, and practice with, integrating civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions into social studies and across the school day. The webinar will also highlight concepts such as perspective taking and issues of equity and justice.

You can register here.

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Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.