A Day at the Court House
Grade Level: 7-12
Objective: The students will observe a court session and answer the questions on the report sheet. This is a worksheet designed to increase student awareness of the court room proceedings through observation.
Purpose: to provide the students with an understanding of the operation of the Court System.
Arrange for a trip to your local court house. Explain that a class will be observing and ask if it is possible to watch an actual criminal case in action. In addition arrange for the students to interview the judge after viewing the proceedings. The following is an example of an interview worksheet the students can use.
A Day at the Courthouse
Name________________ Class______________ Date___________________
Name of the Courthouse____________________________
Address_______________________ Reporting Time__________
Name of the Judge interviewed______________________________
A. Things to look for and report on while in the courtroom:
1) Describe the general environment of the courthouse. Are the facilities crowded? Are they noisy or calm? Are they business like?
2) When watching the criminal proceedings in session, try to answer the following:
a. What is the nature of this case?
b. Describe the work of the prosecuting and defense attorneys
c. Describe the questiong of one witness during the trial
d. Describe the actions and attitudes of the judge
B. Questions to ask the Judge when interviewed:
1) Does the court have a backlog of cases? If so, why?
2) What percentage of cases before the court end in plea bargaining? What is your opinion of this?
3) What percentage of those convicted by the court are locked up in a correctional institutions? Fined? Put on probation?