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Unit 1: No, David! Introduction to the Rule of Law

Featured Text for This Unit

No, David! Bookcover

No, David!

By David Shannon

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This unit focuses on the rule of law and the impartiality of the courts. David, the main character from the book No, David!,  is known for being a trouble-maker.  He has been accused of theft. Should David’s character as a trouble-maker be considered when the facts are analyzed in this case?  Students engage in a mock trial, character analysis, argument writing, and serve as a jury.

Grade LevelsNoDavid_Judges

Ideal for Grades 4 & 5 (Adaptable to Grades 6-12)

Stage 1: Desired Results

Enduring Understandings / Big Idea

Democracy Calls for Equal Justice Under the Law

Essential Questions:

California History Social Science Content Standards

4.5.3: Describe the similarities (e.g., written documents, rule of law, consent of the governed, three separate branches) and differences….among federal state, and local governments.

5.7.5: Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution.

Suggested K-12 Pathway for College, Career, and Civic Readiness

Dimension 2, Civic and Political Institutions

By the end of Grade 5:

California English Language Arts Content Standards

2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and their Characteristics)

2.4: Write persuasive letters or compositions:

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

Text Types and Purposes

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

Comprehension and Collaboration

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Theatre / Creative Expression

Development of Theatrical Skills
Creation/Invention in Theatre
Communication and Expression Through Original Works of Art

Stage 2: End of Unit Authentic Assessment


Goal To use facts in the case and the rule of law and apply to the school law/rules to effectively determine the guilt or innocence of “David”.
Role Jury members summoned to the Classroom Superior Court as jury members
Audience The public, press, interested family members
Situation David, as the defendant, has been accused of theft, a violation of the school rules. The prosecutor must prove that David took property owned by someone else with the intent to prove the owner of it permanently.
Performance Jurors will listen to the testimony during the trial and the evidence presented. Following jury instructions given by the judge, they will determine the guilt or innocence of David, in writing, and orally through jury deliberations.
Standards for Success Following classroom jury instructions, jurors must provide arguments backed up with evidence of David’s guilt or innocence. In addition, jurors must include one counter claim and discuss in jury deliberation, why it is or is not to be believed. Jurors must present their final verdict to the judge.


Quality Criteria Absolutely Almost Not Yet

  • Written argument supports point of view with reasons and information
  • Clear intro, statement of argument
  • Logically ordered reasons supported by facts and details
  • Use of words, phrases and clauses
  • Provides conclusion related to argument presented
Speaking and Listening:

  • Collaborative discussions with clear expressions of ideas
  • Builds on other’s ideas, responds to others’ questions
  • Prepared, follows roles assigned
  • Reviews key ideas from discussion and draw conclusions, shares at a reasonable pace using logical reasoning.

  • Active participation in improvisation, exploring emotions, physical characteristics, developing character
  • Effective use of blocking for the “set” of the courtroom.
  • Strong collaboration in jury deliberation “in role”

Stage 3: Planned Lessons