Trial Preparation Activity Page

Kevin Svitana, Otterbein College
Author Profile


This module sets to accomplish two objectives, the first being the physical preparation of a room or area to accommodate a trial. The second objective is to organize participants who are role-playing as well as identifying a judge and jury so that they are familiar with their activities prior to beginning the trial.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

Learning Goals

Getting organized is the theme of this module. Video clips contained on the overview webpage for Module 11 provide frame of reference of the trial setting as recorded during The Ohio State University mock trial. The videos are intended to provide the instructor with the visual frame of reference from which they can develop their own trial setting.

Context for Use

This module serves as the dress rehearsal for the actual trial. This module is probably the most critical period of supervision to be provided by the instructor in order to assure students are prepared to execute the mock trial. Butterflying, or walking around and monitoring the activities of the groups is an effective method to gauge how well the students are preparing and determining if they need redirection.

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching materials will be dependent on the location where the mock trial is to be conducted. If access can be provided to a local courtroom, visiting the courtroom prior to the mock trial is strongly recommended. If the classroom is to be adapted, rearranging chairs and desks to mimic the layout of the standard courtroom can be accomplished by following the suggestions presented in a typical courtroom layout website.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Preparation and organization are the key to developing a successful mock trial. the video clips attached to the student assignment page and presented in the Resources for Educators can provide a point of reference for helping instructor visualize and lay out their own courtroom setting. Monitoring the students progress at this part of the mock trial is critical to avoid an ineffective role-play exercise.


The most effective assessment of trial preparation activity will come as part of the debrief from the trial. If preparation, both in terms of students being prepared to play their roles as well as instructor having an area prepared for the role played to occur is well executed, the mock trial should be conducted with little to no problem. Monitoring student progress during the preparation is important to the success of this module.

References and Resources

There are several types of trial resources available in the resource collections. Some of the resources include actual trial documents, video clips of the Ohio State mock trial, as well as newspaper articles and other documents from the original trial reports.