Tomorrow morning, we–my children and several others from our local homeschool support group–will put on our fourth annual mock trial. In the first mock trial, we used a pre-planned script we found online (prepared by a group of lawyers for use in educating students and available at no cost), but over the years as we’ve all learned from the process, we’ve grown more daring and have created our own.
This year’s mock trial is based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Ms. Willow Woodcutter is accused of the murder of Mr. Wolffe. Was she a heroine who saved lives by killing a fiend? Or did she misjudge him and attack him without cause because of her own bias against wolves? Depends on which team of lawyers you believe. (They weren’t sure about the use of a fairy tale in the beginning, but they’ve had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully the actual trial will be full of the drama exhibited in today’s rehearsal.)
Our players have planned their strategies, prepared their speeches, made props (including a box of Puffs–the brand of tissues prescribed to Mr. Wolffe who suffered from terrible allergies and short-term memory loss per one team of lawyers–and a police report about Mr. Wolffe’s previous crimes) and are ready to go. They’ve learned some of the basics of how trials are organized and the evidence allowed; tomorrow, they’ll demonstrate what they’ve learned and include a number of other children who may choose to just watch or to participate as members of the jury. Our mock trials have all been held in the historic courtroom in a local museum and have been a lot of fun as well as great learning experiences not only demonstrating an aspect of how our government works, but giving the children a chance to practice public speaking and theater skills.