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Database Provider

Author

ClimateScience

Grades

3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects

Social Studies, Civics, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Lesson Plan, 60 minutes

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

The Trial of Humans

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Synopsis
  • This resource is a simulation of a trial between humans and animals, where the humans are accused of numerous crimes against animals, habitats, and the environment. 
  • Students are divided into two groups, animals and humans, and they present their arguments to the judge and a jury of students selected from both groups. 
  • The judge and jurors get to decide if humans are guilty and therefore get banished from Earth. 

Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This is a fun and engaging role-play activity.
  • The activity is helpful for practicing public speaking.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers may need to review some characteristics of good public speaking. One to do this is by using these three categories: eye contact, voice, and body language.

Differentiation

  • Teachers could invite other staff members to participate as members of the jury or as the judge.
  • Teachers can extend this activity by asking the students to write the contents of their argument into an article.
  • Some ideas for the human group include higher intellect, the ability to create technology, the ability to think, reason, and solve problems, animal companionship and love, and veterinary science.
  • Some ideas for the animal group include biodiversity loss, industrial agriculture, overfishing, plastic pollution, illegal wildlife trade, poaching, deforestation, habitat destruction, and suburban sprawl.
  • If students enjoy this lesson, they may also like the lesson Solve Climate Change While Acting.
Scientist Notes
This is a practical approach to explore ways students can engage in trial sessions and support conservation rather than harmful resource exploitation. Although this is not empirical, this is recommended.
Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • SL.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate speaking behaviors (e.g., eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation).
  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Civics, Government, and Human Rights
      • 6.1.5.CivicsPR.1: Compare procedures for making decisions in a variety of settings including classroom, school, government, and /or society.
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