Witnesses! Lawyers! Objections! Global decisions and their consequences! If you're looking for an activity that will get students engaged and thinking critically about the world, this Shark Finning Mock trial is perfect.
Students will play the role of five different witnesses in a "World Court" case to determine whether shark finning should be banned on a global scale. Student lawyers on both sides (usually three or four) will argue their side using research and clever questioning. You don't need to be a mock trial expert--the important thing in this trial is the content, not the details of a courtroom. Only four objections are allowed for lawyers, so it is easy to be the judge and fun to see them perform this controversial topic.
Depending on your schedule, this activity could take three days, with two days of preparation and one day of the trial. Students who aren't lawyers or witnesses are usually given a topic of choice to research for the two days of preparation and then serve the role of jurors and help determine the outcome.
It is very rewarding as a teacher to see how excited the kids get on trial day. This is something they will be talking about at lunch. I usually require all parts to "dress up" according to their role. I wear my college graduation gown and play the role of "grumpy judge" quite well. :) I think this is an activity you will come back to year after year. It could also piggy-back off of my Shark Finning Problem Solving Activity.