1st Edition

Jury Trials in the Classroom Grades 5-8

By Betty M. See Copyright 2005
    164 Pages
    by Prufrock Press

    Transform your classroom into a courtroom and get ready for students to take part in a great learning adventure. The six trial simulations in this book let students delve into criminal and civil law with motivating cases that mirror situations in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, literature, and history. In the roles of attorneys, members of the jury, defendants, witnesses, and courtroom personnel, students prepare and conduct cases. They will learn to use statements of fact and witness affidavits to determine guilt or innocence.

    The book is divided into three sections that:

    • define the types of courts in the U.S. court system;
    • explain how to carry out a mock trial; and
    • give six ready-to-use court cases, including all necessary documents.

    The court cases allow students to understand both criminal and civil trials, with three types of each case. The cases allow you to stage trials involving Hansel and Gretel, John Wilkes Booth, Little Miss Muffet, Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Jill, and Little Red Riding Hood.

    Don't miss this opportunity to teach critical thinking and teach students how to weigh opposing points of view. The exciting results will motivate students to exercise their reasoning skills, polish their communication skills, and apply knowledge of the legal system. This will become one of your favorite classroom adventures.

    For more judicial activities, see Blind Justice and On Trial.

    Grades 5-8

    Part 1 Building A Foundation, Part 2 Structuring a Mock Trial, Part 3 Trials for Classroom Use, Glossary of Law terms.


    Betty M. See returned to college after the youngest of her four children entered kindergarten. She earned her bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in reading. She has had a varied teaching career. She taught seventh- and eighth-grade language arts, was a middle school classroom teacher, teaching all subject areas, and for 10 years worked with gifted students in grades 3-8 in Little Falls, NJ.

    At each of these levels, she often used simulation activities to help students become involved in the learning process. In 1992, she received an A+ for Kids Teacher Network Award for a simulation activity, Celebrating Our Heritage.

    Mock trials were among the favorite activities of her students. Finding little suitable prepared material, she wrote trials using characters familiar to the students. These trials were the basis for her successful first book, Jury Trials in the Classroom. Her second book, Electing the President, started as a simulation to help her fourth-grade social studies students understand the election process and was later adapted for gifted students, resulting in a schoolwide project for an actual presidential election. Responses from classroom teachers were positive, stating that this simulation helped students understand the electoral college concept and how the president was elected. Her most recent book, More Jury Trials in the Classroom was published in 2007. As with the first book, she has created trials in which the participants are familiar adding an element of humor to further pique the interest of students.

    See has retired from the classroom, but has never given up her love of teaching and writing. She and her husband, Bob, retired to Florida and live at the Leeward Air Ranch, where he flies his Piper Archer, and she is editor of the community newsletter. In addition to editing, she regularly submits humorous columns about aviation and life in general.