This 13-minute video and lesson plan are designed for students to analyze the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the public debate over the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by U.S. officials and government contractors. Students will evaluate multiple perspectives from a mix of resources (video clips, a short film, documents and political cartoons) and classify arguments as being supportive, neutral or critical of government action.
Literature-Based Mock Trial Lessons
This literature based mock trial format provides a dynamic interactive opportunity for K-8 students to develop higher-level thinking skills, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. judicial system and constitutional principles. The Rendell Center’s Mock Trial framework is easy to follow, and its lesson plans – based on classic or classroom pieces of literature – provide teachers with the tools and guidance needed to help their class write and argue a mock trial, and actively take on the roles of defendant, lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and court officials.
9/11 and Civil Liberties
This lesson explores the challenges the United States faced as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and examines the government’s response through the lens of protection and civil liberties. Students will consider the long-term effects of the emergency measures, their consequences and constitutionality, and how they might inform the balance between security and liberty today.
Court Shorts: Jury Service, Hands-on Justice
Jury service is an example of hands-on participation in democracy. In a five-minute video, 11 federal judges talk about jury service as an opportunity for citizens to be part of the judicial process that has an impact on daily life. The video, which deals with Constitutional principles and the practicalities of jury service, is part of the Court Shorts video series that includes installments on the rule of law and separation of powers.
Court Shorts: Trial by Jury
Trial by Jury is a right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. In this episode of Founding Fundamentals, we focus on the phrase “impartial jury,” also known as a jury of your peers.
Court Shorts: Jury Service
Why is jury service important? What is the role of the jury? Jury service is the most direct way of participating in our democracy. In this video, students question federal judges from across the country on the basics of jury service.
Participate in the Judicial Process – Rule of Law
Review the facts, rulings, majority and minority opinions, and reasoning of these two landmark Fourteenth Amendment Supreme Court cases – Batson v. Kentucky and J.E.B. v. Alabama.
Sixth Amendment Activities
Apply landmark Supreme Court cases to contemporary scenarios related to your right to counsel and your right to a fair trial in the Sixth Amendment.
Citizens, who had served on juries, were asked how they would describe the experience from a personal point of view. Read their impressions and insights.
Quiz: Qualifications for Being a Juror
Read the following descriptions in this quiz and decide who should be able to serve on a jury and explain why. After you have recorded your initial impressions, review them with another student. Working together, the class will draft a list of characteristics that they think would qualify someone to serve, then compare them to the actual qualifications.