Mock Trial Mini Units


Mock Trial Mini Units: Grades 1-5

Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial Mini Units are designed to help teachers bring civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions to their elementary classrooms through a two-week interactive unit, during which student lawyers work to analyze, build, and argue a case. Discovering Justice has worked with teachers to create units that are aligned to specific grade-level standards, structured as an engaging mock trial activity over the course of several lessons. Geared towards grades 1-5, all units are accessible online and usable to be taught virtually, in-person, or hybrid.

The Program

Through an interactive mock trial, students practice taking perspectives, analyzing evidence, using evidence to build an argument, discussing themes of justice, and making connections to historical and current events along with their broader communities.

For Teachers

Prior to teaching one of these units in your classroom, we ask that teachers read this Introductory Letter and fill out this Google Spreadsheet. Following completion of the lessons, please tell us what you think in this Feedback Survey.

Grade-Level Overview
Suggested Grade Level
Essential Question
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 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 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?

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.