Unit 1: No, David! Introduction to the Rule of Law
Featured Text for This Unit
By David Shannon
This unit focuses on the rule of law and the impartiality of the courts, requiring students to act as a jury, writing and presenting arguments. In the book No, David! by David Shannon, a young man who is known for getting into trouble has been accused of theft. The class engages in a mock trial, character analysis, argument writing, and serves as a jury for this case.
Ideal for Grades 4 & 5 (Adaptable to Grades 6-12)
- New! Vocabulary and Mock Trial for primary reading level available in Bonus Materials
Stage 1: Desired Results
Enduring Understandings / Big Idea
Democracy Calls for Equal Justice Under the Law
- Are characters predictable?
- What is justice?
- In what ways does the Rule of Law apply to impartiality of the courts?
- In what ways are arguments productive?
- Are the processes in place in democracy designed to “level” individual bias in the court system effective? Why or why not?
- Should one’s “character” influence judicial decisions? Why or why not?
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:
- D2.Civ.1.3-5: Distinguish the responsibilities and powers of government officials at various levels and branches of government and in different times and places.
- D2.Civ.2.3-5: Explain how a democracy relies on people’s responsible participation, and draw implications for how individuals should participate.
- D.2 Civ.3.3-5: Examine the origins and purposes of rules, laws and key U. S. constitutional provisions.
California English Language Arts Content Standards
2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and their Characteristics)
2.4: Write persuasive letters or compositions:
- State a clear position in support of a proposal.
- Support a position with relevant evidence.
- Follow a simple organizational pattern.
- Address reader concerns.
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing
Text Types and Purposes
- Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration
- Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
- Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
Theatre / Creative Expression
Development of Theatrical Skills
- 2.1 Participate in improvisational activities to explore complex ideas and universal themes in literature and life.
- 2.2 Demonstrate the use of blocking (stage areas, levels, and actor’s position, such as full front, quarter, profile, and full back) in dramatizations.
Creation/Invention in Theatre
- 2.3 Collaborate as an actor, director, scriptwriter, or technical artist in creating formal or informal theatrical performances.
Communication and Expression Through Original Works of Art
- 2.7 Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work 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
|Speaking and Listening: