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Elementary EXPLORE Students Collaborate with O’Keeffe Pre-Law Studies Program


In December a collaborative Mock Trial project between the O’Keeffe Pre-Law Studies program and the Elementary Explore program was held. As part of the unit on “Point of View,” students in the Explore Program conducted a mock trial on the case of State v. Goldilocks. With Judge Angie Lerer ’19 presiding, students in fourth through sixth grade explored a crime scene and examined eight witnesses to determine whether Goldilocks was guilty of criminal trespass and vandalism. Students participated in this exercise as attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and bailiffs.

(Left) Wes Hennessy (6th) for the prosecution

(Middle) Elizabeth Lutkins (4th) on cross examination

(Right) Noah Mesa (6th) consulting with Callahan Burton ’21

High school students in the O’Keeffe Pre-Law Studies program assisted in the mock trial case. Early in the unit, they prepared and presented a lesson on “How a Trial Works.” At the trial, the high school students provided help in crossexamining witnesses and preparing closing statements to ensure the points of view were fully explored.

Hannah Danion, a 4th grade student said,

“It was really fun answering questions and figuring out the best thing to say.”

Sixth grader Ben Fischer who played the part of the witness Papa Bear added,

“One of the challenges I faced was really knowing what to say, and saying it correctly. You had a lot of pressure on you because the same thing goes on in a mock trial that goes on in a real trial. If you say something wrong, the whole case is messed up.”

The jury deliberated and Goldilocks was found “Not Guilty” on both charges against her.


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