PBA Young Lawyers Division Civic and Law-Related Education Challenge and Call to Action
The PBA YLD chair has issued a challenge to all young lawyers in Pennsylvania: Let's do our part to make sure every school-age child in Pennsylvania understands basic information about our judicial system and Constitution and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens.
As young lawyers, we are in a unique position to engage students in learning about the law. Many of us have relationships with our local schools because we graduated from the local school or have children or family attending or working in school. These relationships provide excellent opportunities to volunteer a little time to visit a classroom and talk to students about the law in fun and interesting ways that make it very relevant and practical to their lives.
Below are a few lesson ideas that have been used successfully in classrooms. They are easy to use and effectively engage students in learning. If you have questions or would like help in planning a visit, please contact PBA Civics and Law-Related Education Coordinator Susan Etter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-932-0311, ext. 2256.
Law Day 2014
Law Day is designed to celebrate and educate about the rule of law. In Pennsylvania we celebrate the entire month of May. Visit the Law Day Web page for student poster, essay and video contest rules and entry forms and to learn more about the resources that are available.
Grades 3- 5
- Case of the Missing Puppy - This scripted mock trial engages students in a civil case and teaches them about evidence, witnesses, and a variety of basic legal concepts and courtroom procedures. All students participate by playing roles including serving on a jury.
- Word Find to use with the Case of the Missing Puppy
- Evaluation Form to use with the Case of the Missing Puppy
- J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District - This is a mock appellate argument that challenges students to think about protected speech, online and social media issues, privacy, and the need for order and safety in a school environment. All students are actively engaged by representing the interests of the school district, the student, or serving as a Supreme Court Justice. This activity is great for a team of 2-4 lawyers to assist students in developing their arguments.
Adaptable for grades 2-12
- The Law is Everywhere - This lesson demonstrates that the law is everywhere. Students are challenged to list things they have done during the day and then determine how many of those activities are related to the law.
- Constitution in Your Pocket - This is a great warm-up activity that challenges students to identify items they have in their possession that can be related to the Constitution.