In-School Mock Trial Mini Units
Grades 1-5

Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial Mini Units bring teaching civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions to life in the elementary classroom (in person or online) through a week long interactive unit during which student lawyers work to build their case.

This summer, Discovering Justice worked with a group of teachers to create units that are aligned to specific grade-level standards, structured as an engaging mock trial over the course of 7-10 lessons, and accessible to be taught fully virtually, in-person or hybrid!

You can find the units in this google folder, which includes each grade level unit material as well as a letter explaining the pilot of these units. If you plan to teach one, please put your name in the google sheets form, and be sure to fill out the survey form post teaching the unit as well! so we can get feedback! Please feel free to share these resources with your colleagues and networks.

Suggested Grade Level
Brief description of the mock trial
Essential Question (in addition to what is justice?)
Grade 1
In the case of Animals v. The Little Red Hen, the animals take the Hen to court for a piece of her bread!
What makes a good community member?
Grade 2
In Pennacook v. The Colonists, the case hears who the land along the river should belong to.
Who has the right to natural resources?
Grade 3
In the Colonists v. British Soldiers, students argue over who’s to blame for the deaths in the Boston Massacre.
How do we resolve tensions between groups with differing opinions? Who is responsible for actions taken by a group?
Grade 4
In the Yarobi Tribal Nation v. Jones Museum, a fictional Indigenous tribe takes a museum to court for the unconsented use of their artifacts.
Who do artifacts of the past belong to in the present?
Grade 4
In Lilac Island v. Arlong, students debate if a territory of Arlon should become a full state.
Who decides the fate of a people or place, and how?
Grade 5
In Patterson vs. Cross School, a student sues her school for infringing on her 1st Amendment right
What does it mean to have freedom of speech?

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U sable both in-person and virtually, these mini units engage students in a mock trial based on grade level content and literacy standards as well as key K-12 practice standards. Students will practice perspective taking, analyzing evidence, using evidence to build an argument, discussing themes of justice, and making connections to historical and current events along with their broader community/world.

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