Using Real Court Cases to Teach Students Persuasion

Using Real Court Cases to Teach Students Persuasion
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I have taken real court cases (like Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, etc.) and changed the names of the people involved in order to keep the students from figuring out what case they are arguing. Then, the students are assigned the case and whether or not they are the prosecution or the defense. Once they complete the worksheet about their strongest evidence, students complete an opening and closing statement for their case. Then, they present their arguments to the class, who are the jury members. After the presentation, the jury votes, and then we discuss why the jury voted the way it did. After all of the cases have presented, we discuss how they have just completed a persuasive essay due to the fact that the opening statement is the introduction, their evidence is their body paragraphs, their rebuttals become another body paragraph, and the closing statement becomes their closing statement.

In the end, the students see how easy it truly is to write a persuasive essay when they get over the fear of writing and actually enjoy the subject matter.

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