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East Lake Students Make Their Case

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As a follow-up activity to their law and forensic science units, fifth grade students in the Magnet program at East Lake Elementary School participated in a mock trial.

Magnet and STEAM teacher Lisa Gennardo’s classroom was transformed into a courtroom on May 28. Students used material for their study of forensic science to craft the fictitious case. They took on the roles of judge, defendants, prosecuting and defense attorneys and witnesses, and wrote the entire script.

The trial focused on a crime that occurred at a summer beach house owned by Felix Navidad. His “closest friends” all turned out to be suspects who were very eager to inherit his fortune. Parents were invited to the trial showcase and served as members of the jury to deliver a verdict. The decision? Not guilty.

Ms. Gennardo explained that mock trials teach essential skills such as public speaking, critical thinking and the art of forming a persuasive, cohesive argument. Crafting opening and closing statements required the students to consolidate a tremendous amount of material into a short narrative to present a compelling, coherent summary of the case.