Lesson Plans - Law

"Loud Music"   A Simplified Mock Trail Case

Lesson Plan:

GRADE(S): 6 - 12 (or older grades inexperienced with mock trials)

DESCRIPTION: Conducting a Simplified Mock Trial in a classroom based on an imaginery Thai life experience.

DURATION: 1 class period

LANGUAGE: English (can easily be adapted to the language of the classroom)

AUTHOR: Keerock Rook, The Learning Foundation

At the end of this lesson, students should be able to...
• identify the process for settling a legal dispute (how are the facts of the case presented; how is the dispute resolved)
• identify key players in a legal dispute (who presents the facts; who makes the final decision)
• determine what makes a decision fair.
Small group deliberation in simplified mock-trial format; class is divided into three groups for mock trial; groups of three, one each acting as judge, accused and accuser, for review discussion.
A full-scale mock trial can be an intimidating prospect for an elementary classroom-both for teacher and students. This lesson plan for a simplified mock-trial provides an opportunity to experience the fundamentals of a trial.
Beginning with a cast of three characters, students will develop skills that will lead them safely into more complicated cases. The basic tenets of the lesson include those items covered in the learning objectives. Understanding that the purpose of a trial is to settle a dispute between two people, the two parties are given an opportunity to present their side of the story to a judge. With the final authority resting with him/her, the judge takes some time to clarify issues with each party and then makes a decision that is seen to be fair to each party.
Without distinguishing between civil and criminal issues, this lesson illustrates the essentials of our adversary system: that each party is allowed to tell his/her side of the story, that the judge is the person with the authority to settle the dispute, that a fair decision is presented with reasons supporting that decision.
RECOMMENDED STUDENT MATERIALS: Copies of facts for accused and accuser; copies of Steps in the Trial for the judges.

Prepare fact sheets for the accused and accuser groups to read before beginning their trial. Make copies of the
Steps in the Trial for distribution to the judges group.
• Divide the class into three groups; each group represents the judge, the accuser, or the accused.
• Give fact sheets to the accused and the accuser groups, but not to the judge group. Give a copy of the Steps in the Trial to the judge group.
• Allow time for the groups to discuss their strategy: who will present their case, and how they will present their side of the story. Each group should choose a spokesperson to represent them in the trial.
• Follow the Steps in the Trial described below.
• Time permitting, repeat the trial with a different set of students representing each side of the story and the judge.
• Talk as a class about the trial(s) and the results. Ask for reactions to each role: how did it feel to be the judge, the accused, the accuser?
• Review the objectives for other teaching points.
Fact Situation:
Tip was 160 centimetres tall but had speakers that reached from the floor to the ceiling of his room.

loud music(image credit: www.candumusic.ca)

He said turning the volume on his speakers to the highest made him feel powerful.

Every day around 7 pm he started playing his favourite rock music and continued until 4 am when he went to sleep.

The volume was so loud it vibrated the wooden walls of the house and shook the ceiling lights.

When the neighbours complained to his mother, she shouted at Tip and he turned the volume down a little, only to turn it even higher a few minutes later.

Finally, the neighbours asked the court to order Tip to stop playing loud music every night.

Tip answered that he wasn't playing music any louder than the Temples during their regular fairs to raise money.

The neighbours said even though the music at Temple Fairs was even louder than his, they only had Temple Fairs sometimes, whereas he played his music every night.

Tip said the village uses loud speakers every day in the early morning which are even louder than my music.

The neighbours said, even though the village music and announcements are loud, the messages and information are supposed to help everyone.

You play your music many hours during the night for your own pleasure, but it keeps us awake, and that is unfair.

Tip said: "My music is very nice and people like it!"

Steps in the Trial:
1. Let the neigbours (the accuser) tell her/his side of the story.
2. Let Tip (the accused) tell her/his side of the story.
3. Let the judge ask the neighbours and Tip questions.
4. Give the judge a few minutes to think.
5. Let the judge make a decision that is fair.
6. Let the judge explain his or her reasons.
Lead whole-class summation discussion based on the objectives stated earlier. Older students might be given a written assignment. In groups of three, one representing each role, prepare a one page summary of the trial, that presents each side of the story and the judge's decision, with reasons.

Try another of the mock-trial lesson plans, or develop your own based on a situation from current events in the community or the classroom. Write your own fact situation and adapt the Steps in the Trial accordingly. Some other lessons continue with three roles in each trial; some more complicated situations, for trials of six characters, add clerk and two lawyers. Refer to the Canada School Net Bibliography on Mock Trial Materials for reference or LFS Law and Society Lessons.

The Case of: "Loud Music" - A Simplified Mock Trial based on the Canada School Net Simplified Mock Trial Design.

2004 - 2007 The Learning Foundation - LFS Program in Asia