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.

Grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Interactives

Virtual Vote

A growing city needs a new water source. The easiest and cheapest source is a river on federal land in a national park. Should the city be allowed to dam the river and use the water for its citizens? Or, should the valley remain protected for the use and enjoyment of all Americans? In this online program, students assume the role of members of Congress. They hear testimony from both sides, weigh conflicting points of view and make a decision. How will you vote?

Grades 7-12
Legislative Branch/Congress
Games

Today’s Vote in the Classroom

Today’s Vote in the Classroom provides two-day lessons that ask students to take on the role of U.S. Senators, debate issues, and cast their votes on real bills that have been introduced to Congress. Today’s Vote in the Classroom is made up of four key parts. Sequenced instructions, a full lesson-plan download, editable worksheets, and classroom presentations will guide you and your students through the program. Select from among many current, engaging topics, including Climate Change, Minimum Wage, Food Labeling, Voting Rights Restrictions, Mandatory Minimum Sentences, and Electoral College.

Grades 7-12
Legislative Branch/Congress
Interactives

Bush v. Gore (2000)

This lesson looks at Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 election. First, students read about and discuss the Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore. Then in small groups, students role play Supreme Court justices and apply Bush v. Gore to hypothetical election cases.

Grades 9-12
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Lesson Plans

American Indian Reservation Controversies

Reservation Controversies covers historic issues dealing with American Indian Reservations in the 1870s. This experience uses problem based learning (PBL), in which the student is confronted or faced with a real world problem which has no preconceived right or wrong answers. This scenario puts the student as prospective Indian Agent for the Comanche Indian reservation in 1873. Using various teaching/learning strategies, which include brainstorming, role playing, and oral presentations, the students access primary sources and other background sources to arrive at a recommendation, based on the information. The teacher, librarian, and other support staff act as guides or advisors through most of the process.

The Me Too Movement: Resources for PreK-12 Teachers and School Staff

#metoo Resources for Educators.

The #MeToo and #MeTooK12 movement is an opportunity for schools to reflect on how to address issues of consent, sex education, relationships and undoing a pervasive culture of silence. April is also Sexual Assault Awareness month. The Share My Lesson team curated a collection of free resources to help educators with critical conversations and lesson planning, as well as school procedures and policies and opportunities for reflection.

Grades K-12
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans