A SUPREME DECISION

This is a simulation that will allow students to better understand how the Supreme Court operates. Through these activities students can experience the same procedures as the Supreme Court.

Prerequisite:
The students should have a basic understanding of the procedures for the Supreme Court to hear a case.

Time:
This activity will take 2 – 3 classes.

Materials:
1. A computer with Microsoft Word and an Internet connection.
2. Students will use a PortaPortal, a website of “bookmarks,” prepared in advance for their research. The Portal can be found at:
www.portaportal.com
username: supremecourt
password: supremecourt

(please note: New information and websites can be added to this PortaPortal site to increase the issues which students can discuss)


STANDARDS:
GOVT 1. d, e, & g
The student will demonstrate mastery of the social studies skills citizenship requires, including the ability tod) distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information;
e) evaluate information for accuracy, separating fact from opinion;
g) select and defend positions in writing, discussion, and debate.
GOVT. 10.c
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the operation of the federal judiciary by:
c) describing how the Supreme Court decides cases.
GOVT.18 b, e, & f
The student will demonstrate that thoughtful and effective participation in civic life is characterized by:
b) serving as a juror;
e) keeping informed about current issues;
f) respecting differing opinions in a diverse society.
C/T 9-12.4
The student will practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
C/T 9-12.5
The student will demonstrate knowledge of technologies that support collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.
C/T 9-12.8
The student will use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.

ACTIVITY 1 - RULE OF FOUR

Objectives:
The students will:
1. create a class rubric that they will use for evaluation
2. Vote on one issue in which they will hear as a case
3. Conduct Internet research on the issue that was selected via vote
4. Create an outline of background information for the issue.

Procedure:
1. The class will create a rubric for the project evaluation.
2. Students will be placed into groups of 11, nine Justices and two lawyers.
3. List the following issues for the students to vote upon.
4. The first issue that receives at least four of the nine Justices’ votes will be the case they hear.
5. The two lawyers will be given pro or con for the issue.
6. Each group member will use the websites to research the issue.
7. Justices will create an outline that explains the background information of the case.
8. The lawyers will prepare their remarks for the Justices.

*Technology extra* The class may use the website http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php to help create the project’s rubric.

ACTIVITY 2 - HEARING THE CASE

Objectives:
The students will:
1. Lawyers will present the case to the Court
2. Justices will compare pro & con sides via questioning

Procedure:
1. The nine Justices will sit facing the lawyers
2. Each lawyer will be given 10 minutes to present their remarks
3. Justices are given 15 minutes to question the lawyers

*Technology extra* Students may conduct the case via an online chat or through a blog. Either of these could be blocked on some school servers.

ACTIVITY 3 - DECIDING THE CASE

Objectives:
The lawyers will:
1. Evaluate their presentations
2. Theorize what they could have done differently
3. Write a two page reflection of their evaluation and changes

The Justices will:
1. Debate the issue amongst the group
2. Vote to decide the issue
3. Write a majority and dissenting opinion using a Wiki book

Procedure:
Lawyers:
1. Evaluate how well they did presenting and consider what they could have done differently
2. Type a two page reflection explaining their thoughts using Microsoft Word

Justices:
1. Debate the issue as a group
2. Vote to determine which side had the better argument
3. The majority side will explain their judgment using a Wiki, each Justice will contribute
4. The dissenting Justices will explain their viewpoint on a Wiki

ACTIVITY 4 - EVALUATION

Objectives:
1. evaluate classmates on their productivity within the project
2. theorize improvements for the activity

Procedure:
1. students will complete the rubric that was created before the project
2. in a group students will discuss how the activity could be improved and what they could have done differently