Local fifth graders put on mock trial

Nov 18, 2015 8:56 PM by Anthony Peters

Students at Chico Country Day School were able to experience the excitement of a courtroom today with a mock trial. The project gives students the chance to learn first hand what goes into a trial.

"Specifically what we are doing is showing how hard we work to give Gwen a fair trial," retired teacher and coordinator Charles Copeland said.

The trial was put on by the Butte County Committee California Civic Education Partnership and centered around the stolen painting of John Bidwell. It focused on the defendant "Gwen's" knowledge of the painting.

Both the prosecution and defense called witnesses, cross-examined witnesses, presented evidence and gave closing arguments.

When asked what the biggest lesson he learned was, Wyatt Hervey said,""Sometimes when you think someone's guilty they may not be guilty."

Copeland says the role-playing lesson helps immerse the students into the curriculum and drive home the lesson.

"They're never going to forget that. Because they participated in it themselves," he said. "So that's what the idea is, it's called a simulation activity. It's a normal part of education."

The Civic Education Partnership is still in its infancy, but Copeland hopes in a few years, the program will be in every school.

"My fantasy is that within five to six years every fifth grade classroom in Butte County will experience this kind of an activity," Copeland said.


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