Classifying Arguments Activity: Flowers v. Mississippi

Classifying Arguments is a SCOTUS case study strategy in which students are given arguments from each side of a case and tasked with identifying whether each argument supports the petitioner or the respondent. In this classroom-ready activity, students will examine arguments from Flowers v. Mississippi, which asks: Did the Mississippi Supreme Court err in how it applied Batson v. Kentucky in this case? An answer key is also available for download.   

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades:

Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.

This documentary examines the landmark case in which the Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause prevents the use of race-based peremptory challenges to reject potential jurors in civil cases. A PDF lesson plan accompanies this video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

A Conversation on the Constitution: Jury Service

Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy discuss the history and responsibilities of juries and the role they play in the U.S. judicial system. This video complements FAQs: Juries, 11 short videos about the history of juries and what to expect as a potential juror.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

FAQs: Juries

Eleven short videos feature constitutional experts, lawyers and judges who discuss juries and jury service, including the English and American histories of juries, what to expect as a juror, how a trial works, how grand juries work, and insights from judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

A Conversation on the Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury

Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Stephen G. Breyer and Anthony M. Kennedy discuss with high school students the Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co. case and the Sixth Amendment right to trial by an impartial jury. The video complements the documentary Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Law-Abidingness: Reading Guide for “A Jury of Her Peers”

Does our obligation to uphold the law admit of exceptions? Debate the elementary civic virtue of law-abidingness and the appropriateness of civil disobedience as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Susan Glaspell’s story with Christopher DeMuth. Includes discussion guide and model conversation. Common Core-aligned.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Twelve Angry Men: Trial by Jury as a Right and as a Political Institution

Twelve Angry Men, originally written for television by Reginald Rose in 1954 and subsequently adapted for stage (1955), film(1957) and television again (1997), effectively conveys the central importance of the right to a jury trial afforded by Article III of the Constitution as well as Amendments V, VI, and XIV.

  • Resource Type: Books, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Scottsboro Boys and To Kill a Mockingbird: Two Trials for the Classroom

In this lesson, students will perform a comparative close reading of select informational texts from the Scottsboro Boys trials alongside sections from To Kill a Mockingbird. Students analyze the two trials and the characters and arguments involved in them to see how fictional “truth” both mirrors and departs from the factual experience that inspired it.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12