Selecting Roles for Students to Play

Scott Bair, Ohio State University

Students can play a variety of roles in the mock trial. Some students are naturally going to feel more comfortable in one role than another because of their background knowledge in geology, chemistry, or engineering. I always think it is best if students volunteer for roles, rather than be assigned a role. To me, a student who volunteers likely will make an extra effort because he or she has identified with that role and has ownership of it. This link provides a list of Who's Who from the actual trial to help you identify roles that students can play.

Other students may be so reticent or so uncomfortable about their newly acquired knowledge from the Student Learning Modules that they may not want to testify in the mock trial. In this case, you may ask them to play the role of a reporter for a local or national newspaper and require them to write a story about the mock trial in lieu of participating in it. Other roles in the mock trial that one of my colleagues has used are that of a real estate appraiser, Mayor of City of Woburn, and City Engineer. The number of roles depends on the size of your class and the amount of time you have set aside for the mock trial.