This lesson is designed to provide background information on fundamental principles of criminal justice, the purpose of criminal trials, and the roles of court officials.
1. As a class, brainstorm what is known about courts and trials. Portrayals in fiction, the news, and/or personal experience may be some sources to draw upon. This list will be returned to at the lesson’s close.
2. As a class, lead group reading of The Criminal Justice System.
3. To understand the roles of court officials, break students into groups to review People in the Courtroom. As a summary, students can play “Who Am I?” to identify each official.
4. Review original brainstorming session as a class, using the following questions:
What did you know about courts and trials that was true?
Were any misconceptions about courts and trials cleared up?
What do you still want to learn about courts and trials?
5. Teachers wishing to build better understandings of the origins and creation of laws may be interested in The PLEA, Vol. 33 No. 1, The Rule of Law.