As part of the unit on “Point of View,” elementary students enrolled in the King’s Academy Explore Program conducted a mock trial on the case of State v. Goldilocks. Students in fourth through sixth grade explored a crime scene and examined eight witnesses to determine whether Goldilocks was guilty of criminal trespass and vandalism. Students participated in this exercise as attorneys, witnesses, jurors and bailiffs.
“One of the best things about a mock trial is the real-life opportunity it provides for the students to practice essential skills such as public speaking, critical thinking and the art of forming a persuasive, cohesive argument,” Explore teacher Lisa Anderson said. “The students thought they were pretty good at arguing when debating with each other, but a mock trial is an entirely different level.”
High school students in the O’Keeffe Pre-Law Studies program assisted in the mock trial case. Early in the unit, the high school students prepared a lesson on “How a Trial Works.” At the trial, the high school students provided help in cross-examining witnesses and preparing closing statements to ensure the points of view were fully explored.
“This was a beautiful project between elementary and high school,” TKA Elementary Principal Adam Miller said. “The possibilities are endless when we have such a bright grouping of students conglomerated on one campus.”
Hannah Danion, a fourth-grade student said, “It was really fun answering questions and figuring out the best thing to say.”
Sixth-grader Ben Fischer, who played the part of the witness Papa Bear, added, “One of the challenges I faced was really knowing what to say, and saying it correctly. You had a lot of pressure on you because the same thing goes on in a mock trial that goes on in a real trial. If you say something wrong, the whole case is messed up.”
The jury deliberated, and Goldilocks was found not guilty on both charges against her. The Explore Program is a project-based class for students in second through sixth grades. To learn more about TKA’s Explore program, contact Bonnie Mutz at firstname.lastname@example.org.