Lesson Plans - Law

The Case of  "Nong's motorcycle accident"

Lesson Plan:

GRADE(S): 9 - 12 (or older grades inexperienced with mock trials)

DESCRIPTION: This is a two part Simplified Mock Trial based on a Thai student life experience:

Motorcycle accident/Mock Trial Image credit Label source online
"Nong's Motorcycle Accident"
"Appealing a lower court opinion

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.
The fact situation given here is based on an imaginary classroom incident. There may have been a real incident in your classroom that would be a good substitute. Develop roles that are gender-free and easily used by males or females.
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: Nong's motorcyle accident
It was Saturday. Top asked his friend Nong to give him a ride home on his motorcycle. Both boys are 13 years old and the day before during a football game at school Nong hurt his foot.
Nong’s father warned Nong to be careful driving their motorcycle because he still limped from the injury to his foot.
Nong said “No Problem” and the boys set off for the two kilometre ride to Top’s house.
Around the same time, Mr. Gordon left his home in the same village to pick up his wife who had been studying on the weekends in town.
Mr. Gordon drove through the village to the four lane divided highway and after looking both ways along the tree lined road he began his left turn on to the highway.
Mr. Gordon had just enough time to stop when Nong’s motorcycle cut in front of his car from the opposite direction.
The motorcycle almost passed the car but caught the front end.
Top jumped off the motorcycle but the motorcycle fell on Nong.
As Mr. Gordon was getting got out of the car, Top lifted the motorcycle off Nong and was dragging him to the edge of the road.
Nong said his leg hurt a lot.
Mr. Gordon used his handphone to call his wife, who is Thai, and explained what had happened.
He handed the phone to Nong so his wife could find out about his injury and let him know she would call the police and hospital.
Nong gave the hand phone back to Mr. Gordon, and his wife told him not to move anything, to wait for the police, and that she would get a ride to meet him.
As he was talking on the phone Top lifted the motorcycle and began dragging it away from the front of the car.
Mr. Gordon told him not to move it and he stopped.
The ambulance arrived and found that Nong had a broken leg they splinted his leg and took him to a nearby hospital.
The police arrived took pictures of the scene with a digital camera and also made a drawing of the location, direction and positions of the car and the motorcycle.
The next day Mr. Gordon and his wife went to the police station to complete their statement of what had happened.
Nong's father came with a group of other villagers.
Mr. Gordon and his wife said they had the car checked and the mechanic estimated the repairs would cost 5,000 baht.
The motorcycle had not been damaged.
Nong's father said he should not have to pay for the car and that Mr. Gordon should pay for Nong.
His friends from the village joined in and said it wasn't Nong's fault because he was driving slowly and Mr. Gordon was at fault because he was driving a car and should have been more careful.
They said he was a foreigner so he was rich, and he and his wife should pay to take care of Nong.

Mr. Gordon and his wife said they will pay for the cost of repairs to their car but that Nong’s parents should pay for Nong.
They said that the accident may have been avoided had Nong been older with more experience in driving, and had not been driving in the wrong direction on the highway.
The villagers and Nong’s father said that was not fair and that Mr. Gordon and his wife should pay everything.
Steps in the Trial
1. Let Nong and Top (the accusers) tell their side of the story.
2. Let Mr. Gordon (the accused) tell his side of the story.
3. Let the judge ask Nong, Top and Mr. Gordon 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.
ASSESSMENT: 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.
Click to open these related Simplified Mock Trials:
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 Lesson Plans.

"Nong's motorcyle accident" Lesson Plan - A Simplified Mock Trial based on the Canada School Net Simplified Mock Trial Design.

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