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Justice by the people

A Civics, History, and
Language Arts Program

Make Your Case: Teaching Guide

Make Your Case is a courtroom trial simulation in which students control the action in a television-like format. Students play the role of attorneys in a civil case involving a traffic accident between a bicyclist and a driver. The game is designed for two players or two teams of players. As Make Your Case begins, students are challenged to decide what pieces of evidence will be most helpful to their case. Once the trial is underway, they choose which questions to ask witnesses and when to object when they spot violations of the rules of evidence during testimony. The trial concludes with closing arguments and the delivery of a verdict. After the verdict, students have an opportunity to interview jurors. Finally, students receive certificates of completion that provide feedback on how they performed as attorneys.

Game Objectives
After playing Make Your Case students should be able to:

  • Understand the concept and importance of due process of law
  • Identify how the rule of law protects individual rights
  • Describe how jury service is a civic responsibility and protects individual rights

Class Time
1–2 class periods (depending on preparation of students)

For Make Your Case game instructions, click here.

Concluding the Lesson
After students have played the game, you may want to discuss some of the following questions with the class:

  • What are opening statements and closing arguments? How do they differ?
  • What is the difference between direct examination and cross-examination?
  • Who raises objections in a trial and why? Who rules on objections?
  • What did the jury have to decide in this case? What burden of proof did the jurors have to apply in reaching their verdict? What skills does an attorney need in trying a case such as this one?

For lessons and FREE printables on the United States jury system and trial law, click here.