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ERIC Number: EJ1115498
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
A Day in Court: How Mock Trials Bring Learning to Life
Sherrin, David
American Educator, v40 n3 p32-37 Fall 2016
This article is drawn from the authors' book, "Judging for Themselves: Using Mock Trials to Bring Social Studies and English to Life," which discusses the effectiveness of mock trials as tools for learning and assessments. Mock trials are effective because they are challenging, authentic projects in which students create and then do something "real." The projects serve as both learning and assessment tools since students learn from doing the work, and teachers have a tangible product for evaluating understanding and growth. Mock trials are engaging for students, and the role-playing aspect gets them out of their chairs, collaborating, and entering into the mindsets and perspectives of their characters. This article describes the necessary steps in preparing a successful mock trial: (1) choosing and teaching a story; (2) selecting a defendant; (3) choosing the witnesses; (4) creating the affidavits and exhibits; and (5) assigning the students. The rigorous nature of mock trials does not mean it is only for the elite; they can be incorporated with diverse groups of students. An example of how to adapt a trial transcript into a witness evidence sheet is provided.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A