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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
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 3.SL.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.
      • 4.SL.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.
      • 5.SL.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.
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