This hands-on lesson, designed by Shawneen Morrison, starts by having students petition the Supreme Court to hear their case using the real forms (and adapted instructions) the Court requires. Most students are shocked to realize that appealing is a simple process that is designed to allow “ordinary” people to participate. The trick to getting a case heard is to pose an intriguing constitutional question that impacts a lot of people. When students come to understand this, they gain a much stronger understanding of the rationale behind many controversial or overtly confusing rulings (corporate personhood as an example). What’s more, the forms for appealing (petitioning for a writ of certiorari) force students to consider a wide variety of factors affecting their cases. Consequently, taking this preliminary step greatly improves the sophistication of the students’ analysis and argumentation in written briefs or oral arguments regardless of the student’s skill level. As such, taking the time to add this extra step pays large benefits toward advancing common core proficiencies. The simulation can be limited to constructing the petitions and holding a justices’ conference to vote on which cases to accept. Alternatively, student materials are included to guide students all the way through the process of an appeal including written briefs and oral arguments. I take the simulation one step farther and have students appeal a case that did not go to the Court because Kansas City would have gone bankrupt if it lost the appeal (so they settled). The case involves free speech and the Ku Klux Klan. I have included an “answer key” for the petition forms on this case as well as fictional (but based on rulings for similar cases) majority and dissenting opinions for this case.
INCLUDED IN THIS PRODUCT:
➢ Multiple Guiding Options for Structuring the Simulation to Meet Your Classroom Goals
➢ Lesson Instructions
➢ Common Core Alignment
➢ Court Trivia for Use as a Hook
➢ Answer Key for Trivia
➢ Comprehensive Student Guide
➢ Forms for Filing for a Writ of Certiorari
➢ Form for a Justices’ Conference
➢ Sample Filing for Kansas City v. KKK (a case dropped before appeal) for Reference or Use as an Answer Key
➢ Hypothetical Majority and Dissenting Opinions for Kansas City v. KKK
➢ Suggested Links for Student Research
FOR OTHER HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES THAT POWERFULLY DEMONSTRATE THE REAL DYNAMICS OF HOW THE U.S. GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS CONSIDER:
FEDERAL DEFICIT SIMULATION AND ACTIVITY: CAN YOU BALANCE THE FEDERAL BUDGET?
POLITICS OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING: WHY CAN'T WE BALANCE THE FEDERAL BUDGET?
MEDIA LITERACY: LOGICAL FALLACIES AS PROPAGANDA IN CURRENT EVENTS
MOTIVES AND CREDIBILITY IN THE POPULAR PRESS
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