Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 1: Freedom of Religion  
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Workshop 1

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Lesson Plan: Teaching the Lesson: Activity 2

Activity 2: Attorneys Argue Before the Supreme Court

Kristen Borges set up the room for the hearing prior to the arrival of the students. She placed nine desks at the front of the room for the Supreme Court Justices and placed desks on each side of the room for the opposing attorneys. In the middle of the room was a podium where students stood to address the court.

At the beginning of the class, provide a few minutes for students to finish up any last-minute preparation for the hearing.

Review the rubrics and make sure students know how they will be assessed. Explain that each group has 20 minutes, but the justices may interrupt with questions at any time. Attorneys may choose to save some of their time for rebuttal.

Ask the justices to leave the room and have one student perform the role of a law clerk. The job of the law clerk is to set the formal tone of the hearing and ask the justices to enter the room. The Chief Justice then asks both sides if they are ready to present their arguments.

Because they are the appellants in the case, the attorneys for the school board present their case first. Allow a few minutes between the arguments for the Supreme Court Justices to ask questions or make any points that they would like to make.

The plaintiffs--in this case, the attorneys representing the families--come next.

If the school board has saved any time for rebuttal, it would come next.

During the hearing, Kristen Borges concentrated on two tasks: serving as timekeeper and assessing the students’ performances.

Once both sides have presented their arguments, remind the Justices to review their notes and start thinking about the decision that’s ahead of them.

Overview, Goals, and Planning    |     Activity 1
Activity 2     |     Activity 3     |     Activity 4     |     Scheduling


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