Famous Trials

Lesson Duration

From: Update on Law-Related Education, 23.1, 1999, pp. 44–45. © 1999 American Bar Association.

Students review famous trials of the 20th century (using lists provided in the lesson) and discuss what it means to be “famous.” After they agree on a definition for the word, students choose (or are assigned) one of the trials on the list. They are to write the opening paragraphs of a newspaper report as it might have been written at the time of their particular trial.

Later, students will decide which five or six of the trial qualifies as the “most famous” of the century. Once the list is narrowed down, students will form one small groups per trial to make signs promoting their trial as the most famous. The class will then have an election.


As a result of this lesson, students will

    • Investigate famous trials of the 20th century
    • Write a newspaper report about one of those trials
    • Conduct an election in which they vote for and explain their choice of the Most Famous Trial of the 20th Century

Lesson: Famous Trials (This lesson can be found on pages 44-45.)


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