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2010 Law Day Information

2010 K-College Law Day Lesson Plan Guide
"Rule of Law: It's what I live by"

Message from the President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association
Clifford E. Haines

Download the six-page 2010 Law Day Lesson Guide

2010 Law Day Lesson Guide Materials and Resources
Below you will find everything you need to plan and prepare for a classroom visit to celebrate Law Day this May.

Preparation for Your Visit - What Kinds of Things Do Students Want to Know?
If you are have been asked to visit a classroom and talk to students about being a lawyer or judge you might find some of these ideas and resources helpful as you prepare to talk with students.

Law Day Planning

Get some Positive Press

Rule of Law: It's what I live by
For a great article on Law Day and the Rule of Law, read the text of the original "Voice for America" radio broadcast by Charles S. Rhyne, delivered on the first Law Day, May 1, 1958.

    Rule of Law Lessons Adaptable for All Grade Levels
  • The Law is Everywhere
  • Rule of Law Lesson

  • Elementary Lessons on Rule of Law
  • Why were these rules made?
  • No Animals in the Library

  • Middle School Lessons on Rule of Law
  • Why We Have Rules and Laws
  • No Hats in Class

  • High School Lessons on Rule of Law
  • No Vehicles in the Park
  • Why Law Day?
  • Use the Law Day article and lesson ideas to guide a discussion with high school students about the Rule of Law in our country as compared to other countries of the world and similarly talking about our legal system and the legal system in other countries-at least two current events can help in this discussion: the kidnapping case of an American child by Brazilian citizens and the trial of an American student accused of murder in Italy.
  • Stepping Out
  • Use the PBA Stepping Out materials which address laws that young people will need to be more aware of as they graduate, turn 18, and "step out" on their own. What does the Rule of Law mean in this context?
  • George Washington and the Rule of Law
  • This lesson discusses George Washington's commitment to the principle of the rule of law. The reading examines situations faced by Washington as both commander in chief and president when he chose the rule of law over expediency or personal power. Discussion questions follow the reading.

Mock Trials
Read this handout for some tips on successfully using mock trial lessons with students.

Mock Trials for Elementary Students
Elementary students in grades K-2 may be a bit too young for the mock trials due to the amount of reading involved. It is best to talk with the teacher of the class you are planning to visit. The scripted mock trials, like Commonwealth v. Goldilocks provided below or some of the others on our web site could be used with younger students if adults can be recruited to play the required roles of the case.

If you determine a mock trial will not work with the class you plan to visit, we suggest the following lesson… I Took My Frog to School - No Animals in the Library. Get a copy of the book, I Took My Frog to School by Eric Kimmel from your local library and read it to the students. Even better, buy a copy of the book ($5.99) and then when you leave, give it to the teacher for the classroom library. This is a very short story about a young girl who takes various animals to the library resulting in chaos and mayhem. The story is used to introduce the lesson topic to students and begin to build a rapport with them. After reading the story transition into the "No Animals in the Library" lesson that helps students think about rules and why they are necessary. The lesson also explores what makes a good rule, what happens when rules are unclear, and helps students think about appropriate consequences for breaking rules. This is a very engaging lesson and you will find even young students are very insightful in their thinking. Have some fun and bring along a stuffed animal. Would a stuffed animal be allowed under the "no animals" rule?

Commonwealth v. Goldilocks
Based on the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this mock trial looks at criminal trespass. The trial is scripted and requires minimal preparation for adults who are going to play the eight roles involved in the case. This option would be good for younger students with limited reading ability, while older elementary students may be able to read from the script and play most of the roles. Talk with the classroom teacher in advance to make sure that students' reading abilities correspond with the script and to get advice on using the students to play the roles. It is important that the visit is a positive learning experience where students are learning about the courts and rule of law in an engaging way without being embarrassed in front of their classmates. You may also be able to have older students act out the trial during an assembly for the younger students.
Goldilock's Mock Trial 1
Goldilock's Mock Trial 2
Goldilock's Mock Trial 3

Selecting the Jury for the Goldilocks Trial
In this lesson from the American Bar Association, students gain some understanding of the challenges faced in selecting a fair and impartial jury.

Case of the Missing Puppy
This case and lesson helps familiarize students with the civil justice legal process. The facts of the case begin with Mr. and Mrs. Green hiring Amanda Barber, age 13, to baby-sit their son Mikey and their puppy, Spot, for the day. They told Amanda to play with their son, to make him lunch, and to be sure their dog was tied up outside for fresh air and exercise. While Amanda was preparing a sandwich for the child, the frisky dog tore his rope, broke free, and ran away. The Greens blame Amanda for carelessness and want her to give them the cost of Spot the Dalmatian. (This lesson was originally developed by a third grade class in New Jersey and received an honorable mention in the New Jersey State Bar Foundation's Law Fair Competition in 1996. We have made some modifications to the lesson and have posted it here for your use.)

Using Fairy Tales and Children's Literature to Develop your own Mock Trial
This lesson was inspired by the annual Law Day Fairy Tale Mock Trials developed and conducted by the Monroe County Bar Association through its wonderful volunteers on the Law Day Fairy Tale Trials Committee.

Mock Trials for Middle School Students
At this age, students want to have a bit more input into the mock trial. They want to try their hand at asking questions of witnesses and not just reading from the script. The mock trial lessons provided for the middle school grade levels provide facts and background, but require the students to develop their own questions and responses with the assistance of the visiting lawyer or judge. This makes the mock trial an interactive teaching and learning experience. The lessons provided below include information on preparing and delivering the lesson. The classroom teacher is an important partner in making this lesson and experience successful.

The"Case of the Missing Puppy" can also be used for some middle school classes, depending on the grade level. You should check with the teacher to determine if this will hold the students' interest.

Case of the Broken Radio
Using role play techniques, students will distinguish between facts and opinions and discuss why courts rely upon facts more than opinion. This exercise helps students develop critical thinking skills and learn about civil trials. It involves a student who purchased a radio then tried to return it because it was broken.

USA vs. Smith, a scripted mock trial in a Federal U.S. District Court involving felony possession of drugs. This mock trial lesson and script was developed by the Western District of North Carolina and is part of their new interactive web site, Kids Court, designed just for kids. This lesson is recommended for grades 6-12.

Mock Trials and Appellate Arguments for High School Students
Each lesson provides all of the information you will need to prepare for your visit and present to students. Again it is important that you talk with the teacher ahead of time and share the lesson and materials with him or her.

Just released - The 2010 lesson from the Federal Courts Educational Outreach program addresses very timely issues of social media and the First Amendment. In this case, the high school principal claims that students violated school policies by posting content to the school’s official “FaceLook” page. He maintains the content threatened a safe and efficient learning environment. The students claim that their First Amendment rights were violated and sue the principal and the school district in federal court. The lesson applies the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hazlewood.

The first two lessons suggested below were developed by the Federal Courts Educational Outreach Law Day and Juror Appreciation program and have been used multiple times by PBA members. Both cases are highly engaging and well-received by students, teachers, lawyers and judges. After introducing yourself and the lesson, and talking with students about the legal terms, facts and history of the case, students will be asked to develop arguments for one side or the other and some students may be asked to serve as justices and decide the case based on the arguments presented by their classmates. There are a variety of ways to act out the lesson depending on the resources you have available.

Carey v. Musladin, 549 U.S. 70 (2006)
Free speech and fair trial issues come to the Supreme Court in many ways. This case asks students to separate emotions from reason when they decide the following question: If the friends and family of a murder victim sit in the trial of the alleged murderer wearing buttons printed with a picture of the deceased, does that prejudice the jury and risk depriving the defendant of his Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury?

Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372 (2007)
This case was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court. It raises Fourth Amendment seizure issues and involves a teen driver who decided to flee from the police when they attempted to pull him over for a minor traffic offense. The car chase that followed was ended by the police when they used a police maneuver to push the teen's car from the road to ensure public safety. The police action caused the car to crash and left the teen paralyzed. The question posed to students for oral argument is, was the police seizure of the teen's car a violation of the teen's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizures? The lesson materials provide background on the case and explain various ways the case can be used with students.

Link to the Supreme Court Opinion in Scott v. Harris.

Notes on Presenting this Case to High School Students
This document provides a script that can be used or modified to present this case and lesson to high school students. Time frame is 60-75 minutes.

Watch the video featuring Pennsylvania as a national model in the Federal Courts Open Door program held in the Eastern District Courts.

USA vs. Smith, a scripted mock trial in a Federal U.S. District Court involving felony possession of drugs. This mock trial lesson and script was developed by the Western District of North Carolina and is part of their new interactive web site, Kids Court, designed just for kids. This lesson is recommended for grades 6-12.

Mock Trials for College Students
For those of you that are looking for some interesting lessons to use with college students, you may want to look at the mock trials developed by Street Law. We have listed a variety of civil and criminal mock trials covering timely and mature topics. Others are available on the Street Law Web site at the address listed below.

    Criminal Mock Trials found at http://www.streetlaw.org//en/Page.mocktrials_criminal.aspx
  • Chris Archer v. the State of New Columbia
    A college student is charged with first degree murder and criminal hazing after a prospective member of his fraternity falls to her death with a blood alcohol level of .10.
  • State v. David Jones
    A college student is charged with felony rape after his girlfriend alleged that he forced her to have sexual intercourse against her will.
  • United States v. Martha Monroe
    A woman admits to shooting and killing her husband and is charged with first degree murder. She asserts that she acted in self-defense after suffering years of severe physical and emotional abuse.

  • Civil Mock Trials found at http://www.streetlaw.org//en/Page.mocktrials_civil.aspx
  • Brooks v. Lawrence & the Metro City Police Department
    A 19-year-old high school honors student charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct and brings a civil suit against the police department for battery, false arrest, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Kahn v. Kahn
    A woman charges her husband with multiple instances of domestic violence.
  • Kyle Wilkins v. New Columbia County School District
    A father sues the New Columbia County School District for damages after his son, a student at the school, dies from a heart attack caused by excessive steroid use.
  • Sandra W. v. Gregg M.
    A woman sues a sexual partner for negligent transmission of HIV.
  • Scott Walker v. Tanya Brewster
    After a five-year-old is severely wounded from a gunshot wound, a mother is sued for negligent storage of a firearm and negligent supervision of the minor child responsible for bringing the gun into the home.

More Mock Trial Resources

Using Word Searches to Supplement your Law Day Lesson
A Word Search is an engaging learning activity for students and something you can leave with them to complete and take home to share with their parents after your visit. Read this brief article for creative ideas on how to use a word find during your visit. Then print out one of our word search handouts below or use the links to create your own!

Elementary Level Word Search Answer Sheet
Middle School Level Word Search Answer Sheet
Middle School Level Word Search Answer Sheet
Middle School Level Word Search  
High School Word Search  

Make Your Own Word Search
Below are three sites you can use to create word search puzzles to use with some of the vocabulary words you are using in your lesson. The puzzles allow you to tailor the difficulty level of your word search to match with the grade level you are visiting.

How to Get Help
If you have questions, please contact Susan Etter, PBA Education and Special Projects Coordinator.
E-mail: susan.etter@pabar.org
Phone: 800-932-0311 ext. 2256

The PBA Law Day program is organized by the PBA Law-Related Education Committee and is funded by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.