Teaching About Trials

Lesson Duration

Author:  David T. Naylor and Scott W. DeWitt

The ideas shared in this article provide a range of classroom activities that can add interest, variety, and depth to middle and high school social studies classrooms. They suggest ways for teachers to move teaching about trials—and law-related education—from the periphery to a more central place in the curriculum. And, they identify a range of strategies for actively involving students in meaningful instruction. To help students begin their study of famous trials, this strategy asks them to choose and research a significant historical or contemporary trial, seeking to explain its significance to the past and the present. This lesson can be found at Update on Law-Related Education, 23.1, 1999, pp. 35–36.


As a result of this lesson, students will

  • Analyze a historical or contemporary trial
  • Identify the facts, arguments, and outcomes of the trial
  • Explain the historical impact and significance of the trial
See pages 35-36:


The mission of the American Bar Association Division for Public Education is to promote public understanding of the law and its role in society.