Active Learning Examples: Mock Criminal Trial | On Effective Instruction

Active Learning Examples: Mock Criminal Trial

Mock Trial

Name of Activity : Final Mock Criminal Trial

 

Instructor:

Steve Moulton

 

Class:

CJC 132

 

Description of Activity:

A mock criminal court trial is prepared as students form teams and “work” through the court case as if they were officers of the court.

 

Procedure for Activity:

  • Students and their teammates must put into practice all of the skills and activities that we have practiced throughout the year.
  • Some activities are (but not limited to):
  • Prosecution team and their preparation for a court case, witness prep and interviews, evidence entry into the criminal case.
  • Defense team and their preparation for a court case, witness prep and interviews, evidence entry into the criminal case.
  • Students additionally play the roles of Judge, Jury, Defendant etc.
  • Each team preps for the case, has to make opening and closing arguments and perform a cross examination of both the Defendant and any/all witnesses.

 

Result of Activity:

  • Each team has to try the case in court (no plea bargains ;-)) and have the Judge or Jury (depending on the size of the class, reach a verdict)
  • This really forces some of the “wallflowers” of the class out of the shadows and slightly pushers their comfort zone.

 

General Thoughts of Activity:

  • This activity is fun way for the student to role-play through a criminal court case. (I assist the Judge and explain directions to the jury as well as calling a “timeout” to ensure that points are not being lost on anyone and help with objections, and rules of law if students get stuck or need clarification.)
  • It also allows for nice cumulative “wrap-up” to our course and it is conducted the last day of the semester.
  • I do not grade students traditionally for the results of the activity, (i.e. your client was found “guilty” you earned an “F”) just mandate that they show up and try hard to do the best they can.
  • This Mock Court Case is scheduled after the formal, written final exam of the semester. I like for it be pressure-free and fun, but also slightly competitive between the Prosecution and Defense.
  • I transform our classroom with seating, a judge’s bench and jury box for the trial. IF I have time and the local drama studio is available, we go there.


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