Civics Lessons

Lesson Topic: Juries

Making Decisions: by Group: The Jury System

Students learn about the nation’s jury system and its importance to the rule of law in the United States. Students will experience the Sixth and Seventh Amendments at work as they engage in the main lesson activities, including one in which they will serve as jurors.

Constitution Day Lesson-6th Amendment

The goal of this activity is to introduce 6th grade students to the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution (guarantee of an impartial jury for criminal defendants). The materials illustrate how the American juror selection process differs from the jury selection process used in ancient times during the Roman Republic.

Participating in the Jury System

Students participate in activities and discussions about the relationship of a democratic society to its legal institutions, and the issues of fairness and equality under the law and legal system. They learn how constitutional amendments such as the Fourteenth Amendment influence lawsuits, and they will apply concepts within the Bill of Rights to jury trials. Students conduct research to compare the U.S. jury trial system to trial systems in other countries.

B.B. Wolf v. Curly Pig Mock Trial

Mock Trial Script of Curly Pig vs the Big Bad Wolf

Goldilocks vs. the Three Bears

This scripted mock trial includes ideas for pre and post mock trial activities.

Krabbs v. Plankton Mock Trial

Students learn about the different roles and responsibilities in a court by participating in a mock trial.

The Problem of SpongeBob RoundPants

This short scripted mock trial for grades 4-6 involves SpongeBob suing Abercrombie and Fish for pants that don’t fit. Scripted parts allow the trial to move quickly to jury deliberations during which the student jurors actually decide the verdict of the case.

Yertle the Turtle Mock Trial

This mock trial exposes students to the mechanics of a jury trial, and stresses the importance of functioning as a juror.

The American Jury: A Voir Dire Simulation

Students participate in a simulation of the jury selection process

The Jury System

In this lesson, students identify pros and cons of jury trials and judge-only trials, plus develop and respond to questions that might help to ensure the selection of a fair and unbiased jury.

This is Our Town Too: The Jury Process

In this lesson students learn about the process of voir dire and the use of peremptory challenges. Through the study of three actual Supreme Court cases, students gain background information for a classroom lesson.

A History of Conflict Resolution and the Jury System

Students will gain an understanding of the modern jury system and historical methods of conflict resolution. They will compare and contrast the different trial methods of past and present, and analyze each as a way to resolve conflict. They will examine jury trials and the responsibility to decide the facts pertaining to key questions that jurors must answer. Then students will write a persuasive essay arguing for their preferred method of trial.

Prepare for Trial

In this lesson, students will learn about the relationship between constitutional rights and fair and unbiased jury selection. Students will focus on the process for selecting members of a jury. In addition, they will learn vocabulary relevant to understanding court proceedings, which they will apply in making juror selections. Throughout the main activities and lesson extensions, students will investigate the relationship between constitutional rights and fair and unbiased jury selection.

Get Involved with Civic Education in Michigan!