Covers the structure, function, and processes of the judicial branch and examines landmark Supreme Court cases
The Judicial Branch: Justice and the Law unit contains 7 learning experiences.
Learning Experiences (Lessons) in The Judicial Branch: Justice and the Law Each learning experience takes about 45 minutes to teach in the device-enabled classroom.
The Rule of Law
Students read about and summarize ancient and historical codes of law that have had an impact on the American legal, political, and governmental systems. Then they explore the types and sources of modern laws. Next, students develop a definition for the concept “rule of law.” Finally, students analyze an image of Lady Justice and explain how she represents rule of law.
The Federal Court System
Students review the difference between federal and state courts. Then they learn about the three levels of the federal court system, focusing on the components of U.S. District Courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals. Next, they learn about the types of federal judges in these courts. Finally, they hear from an individual judge in the U.S. court system and describe how that judge’s life prepared him or her to serve on the bench.
The Supreme Court
Students are introduced to the Supreme Court by looking at a section of Article III of the U.S. Constitution. Then they learn about various aspects of the Supreme Court and define judicial review. Next, they learn how Supreme Court justices get appointed and explain it in their own words. Finally, they research one of the current Supreme Court justices and write a brief biography.
Supreme Court Procedures
Students explore the procedures of the United States Supreme Court, learning both the terminology and the process. Then, they create a diagram to illustrate the process. Finally, they explain the connection between the Supreme Court procedures and the phrase: “Equal Justice Under Law.”
Landmark Supreme Court Decisions
Students explore the landmark Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education and analyze its significance. In small groups, they work to explore and analyze another landmark case and report back to the whole group. Finally, they consider how at least one of these cases has influenced their own life.
Civil and Criminal Law
Students learn about different types of civil law disputes and the procedures for settling a civil claim. Then, students explore the steps in criminal law proceedings and identify the differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Next, students learn about the role of juries and explain the presumption of innocence. Finally, students participate in a mock civil trial.