ERIC Number: EJ1209798
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Abstractor: As Provided
Teaching Judicial Politics through a Supreme Court Simulation
Williams, Ryan J.; Chergosky, Anthony J.
Journal of Political Science Education, v15 n1 p17-36 2019
This article describes various iterations of a Supreme Court simulation that we developed for undergraduate political science classes. We address when simulations should be used to introduce a topic to students, and when simulations should be used to develop students' understanding of a topic after introducing it. In the simulations, we played the role of attorneys delivering oral arguments before the Supreme Court, while students played the role of Supreme Court justices. Students questioned attorneys, deliberated in groups, voted on the merits of the case, and explained their decisions. We varied when the simulation was conducted, with one class doing the simulation before a lesson on judicial decision making and two classes doing the simulation following a lesson on judicial decision making. We evaluate the simulation by using results from student questionnaires that assessed the students' interest in judicial politics, their knowledge of the Supreme Court, and their understanding of judicial decision making. We find that the simulation most effectively accomplished the intended learning outcomes when the simulation was conducted after a lesson on decision making in the Supreme Court, rather than before the lesson. In addition, our results demonstrate that the simulation increased students' interest in the Supreme Court and their desire to learn more about the institution. Our results have implications for political scientists aiming to enhance student learning through simulations.
Descriptors: Court Litigation, Simulation, Political Science, Teaching Methods, Role, Lawyers, Decision Making, Constitutional Law, Student Attitudes, Student Interests, Politics, Political Attitudes, Knowledge Level, Role Playing, Undergraduate Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A