Learn how to use mock trials to bring history and literature to life! When students take on the roles of lawyers and witnesses in historical or literary trials, they develop greater investment in the topics, they learn rigorous close-reading and questioning techniques, and they are able to deeply explore and reflect upon themes of justice and responsibility. In this new book from award-winning teacher David Sherrin, you’ll find out how this lively instructional strategy will make learning a more immersive, engaging, and memorable experience for your middle school and high school students. The book includes:

  • a clear how-to guide to get the most out of mock trials in your class;
  • ready-made units and lessons to get you started right away, complete with sample scripts, primary source documents, scaffolding worksheets, and assessment rubrics;
  • templates and step-by-step instructions to help you design your own mock trials.

The pre-made units, which Sherrin spent years refining in his classroom, cover historical topics such as the Nuremberg Trials and the inquisitions of Martin Luther and Galileo. You’ll also find fun and interactive mock trials based on the literary works The Pearl and To Kill a Mockingbird. These lessons will help students at all ability levels to become better readers, public speakers, and critical thinkers.

For even more engaging lessons, try out Sherrin’s companion book on role-plays, The Classes They Remember: Using Role-Plays to Bring Social Studies and English to Life.

Companion Website

Meet the Author


Introduction: A Day in Court

Part 1: A Mock Trial How-To Guide

1 Creating Mock Trials

2 Executing Mock Trials


Part 2: Examples of Historical Mock Trials

3 Julius Streicher: A Nuremberg Trial

4 Galileo and Martin Luther Inquisition Trials

Part 3: Examples of Literary Mock Trials

5 To Kill a Mockingbird Trial

6 Imaginary Literary Trials