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ELA teachers can use We The Jury to give students practice in evaluating primary sources, analyzing evidence, and persuading others of their positions. It would pair well with a persuasive writing exercise focused on a contentious issue currently being debated within State Supreme Courts or the US Supreme Court. Students could also play Supreme Decision and Argument Wars from the iCivics curriculum to get some extra perspectives and skills.Continue reading Show less
We The Jury is a civics game designed to introduce students to the basic responsibilities and work of a juror. Having lost their notes, students must rely on evidence presented (somewhat) impartially by the other jurors over a period of five in-game days. Students must weigh evidence against standing laws, and must talk with all of the jurors to glean a complete picture of the case. Throughout, students attempt to convince the rest of the jury to join their position, with the consequence of failure being a hung jury. There is a relatively steep learning curve, but once students get oriented, it's pretty straightforward.
Full Disclosure: iCivics and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.
By talking with other jurors, students unlock evidence that exposes them to relevant laws and forms of evidence. This ultimately helps them understand a few important things: (1) the jury deliberation process; (2) the structure of arguments; (3) the ethics of our justice system. To evaluate evidence and perspectives, students use critical thinking skills so they make the right judgment about the case. They're also given practice being fair and flexible, since the unlocked evidence should -- if they're being attentive and just -- force them to re-evaluate their positions on the matter. To keep things interesting, and to drive these lessons home, none of the cases are open/shut. Each of the scenarios requires evaluation and diligence before votes are finalized.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
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