17 Free Mock Trials and basic information about mock trial procedure. Instruct students to read the mock trial materials and:
- Write an opening statement that provides an overview of the case for the prosecution/plaintiff or defense. Use Flipgrid to record. Upload recordings to online course platform. Encourage students to watch other’s opening statements and give feedback. If you are holding synchronous classes, students can present their opening statements during class. Students may also write out opening statements and share using Google Docs.
Assign students, either individually or as a group, a witness in the mock trial (see link above). Instruct them to post direct examination questions and answers in a discussion board or Google Doc for their assigned witness based on the written trial materials.
- Assign students a second witness (preferably on the opposing side of the case). Instruct them to post cross examination questions and answers in a discussion board or Google Doc for their assigned witness.
- After students have posted questions and answers, encourage students to read all questions and answers and reply with objections when appropriate. If using Google Docs, simplified objections can be noted by inserting comments. You can play the role of judge or assign a student who will “sustain” or “overrule” objections by replying on a discussion board or within comments.
- After both direct and cross examination questions have been posted and objections registered, instruct students to record a Flipgrid closing argument which summarizes either the prosecution’s/plaintiff’s case or the defense’s case (see opening statements for other online adaptions).
Using a polling/voting feature during a synchronous class, have students act as a jury and vote for a verdict. Polling of students as the jury can also take place in a discussion board.
Use one of our hundreds of case summaries available in our free store or a current case before the Court. Follow instructions for the “Classifying Arguments” activity or download a case summary and delete the decision and opinion sections.
- After students classify the arguments, instruct them to write their opinion in the role of a justice explaining which party (petitioner or respondent) they would find in favor of and their legal reasoning referencing the constitutional provisions, precedents, and arguments they applied in the “Classifying Arguments” activity.
- See “Judicial Opinion Writing” in Using Case Studies in the Classroom. Instruct students to post opinions in a discussion board or Google Doc.
- Encourage students to concur or dissent with other students’ opinions and explain their reasoning.