From Tuesday, May 23rd through Friday, May 26th, Social Studies chair Mr. Kevin Gleeson will preside over his Crime and Justice course’s final project: a student-led mock trial. Mr. Gleeson and the Crime and Justice students invite parents, alumni, and any other interested members of the community to observe this year’s mock trial, which will occur in the STM Community Room.
“The single most important objective of this project, and the greater course at large, is to sharpen students’ analytical skills.” Gleeson said. “While preparing for the trial, students must evaluate competing theories, with emphasis on critical evaluation of evidence, and theorizing in the face of conflicting data.”
This year’s case is about the murder of a local restauranteur. Suspicious accounting, disputes between business partners, and peripheral witnesses and accomplices are all factors that the students must take into consideration when studying the case and formulating their arguments. The students are randomly assigned to the defense or prosecution, and then draw their roles from a hat. Roles include writing witness affidavits, providing witness testimony, examining and cross-examining witnesses, and delivering opening and closing statements. Students have spent weeks preparing for the trial, researching legal precedent and structuring witness testimony. Students are graded on how well they work with their group, the performance of their role during the trial, and the outcome of the trial.
Mock Trial Schedule
Day 1 – Opening Statements
Day 2 – Prosecution
Day 3 – Defense
Day 4 – Closing Statements/Jury Deliberation
In his five years at STM, Gleeson has truly embraced the hands-on, project-based learning prominent in all STM classrooms in each of his lesson plans. This spring he was nominated for the Gilder-Lehrman Institute’s National History Teacher of the Year Award. This prestigious award celebrates educators who demonstrate a commitment to teaching American history, display creativity and imagination in the classroom, and effectively use of documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary sources to engage students.
The mock trial will take place in the STM Community Room from Tuesday, May 23rd through Friday, May 26th, from 10:15 – 11:00 and 2:15 – 3:00. If you would like to attend any of the mock trial days, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.