Romeo and Juliet Mock Trial - Friar Lawrence Final Project Classroom Activity

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The Romeo and Juliet Mock Trial activity brings Shakespeare’s classic play to the courtroom, with Friar Lawrence on trial! In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, there is no legal proceeding to determine who is responsible for the tragedy of the two star-crossed lovers. This ready-to-use activity engages students in a classroom mock trial to find a verdict as to whether or not Friar Lawrence should be held responsible. After learning context about the courtroom trial, students will participate in a classroom mock trial to defend or prosecute Friar Lawrence. This resource has absolutely everything you need to facilitate the mock trial so all your students are engaged.

Included in this Romeo and Juliet Mock Trial Activity:

➡️ Romeo and Juliet Mock Trial Teacher Instructions: You can feel totally confident implementing this lesson with detailed, step-by-step teacher instructions for how to facilitate this mock trial activity.

➡️ Romeo and Juliet Mock Trial Presentation: Provide students with some context on the courtroom trial. The slideshow presentation guides each step of the lesson and includes information on courtroom terms, courtroom layout, trial structure, information on the charge against Friar Lawrence (involuntary manslaughter), persuasive techniques, and all the information students need to facilitate this activity in your classroom.

➡️ Courtroom Context Handout: Teach students the courtroom basics with this handout including common courtroom terms, a typical courtroom layout, and basic trial proceedings (i.e., opening statements, witness testimony, cross-examination, etc.). This will give students the context they need for the Romeo and Juliet mock trial.

➡️ Common Trial Objections Handout: Professionalize your classroom mock trial with the included trial objections handout, which breaks down the different types of common trial objections used in the courtroom (i.e., relevance, hearsay, speculation, etc.).

➡️ Involuntary Manslaughter Charge Handout: Inform students on what needs to be proven in order for someone to be charged with involuntary manslaughter with this included student reference sheet.

➡️ Pre-Activity Graphic Organizers: Help students to organize their thoughts before the trial with the included graphic organizers for the prosecution, the defense, and the trial witnesses. Jury members will also participate in this pre-activity by creating storyboards that will serve as a visual reference for important moments in the play to refer back to during the trial and a follow-assignment where they justify their decision.

How to use this Romeo and Juliet Mock Trial Activity:
  1. Use the introductory presentation slides to guide students through the lesson and provide them with some context, key legal terms, and persuasive techniques.
  2. Assign trial roles to each of your students according to their preferences by having them identify their top and bottom three choices of the options shown in the slideshow (prosecution, defense, witness, or jury member).
  3. Assign students the provided preparation assignments to be completed ahead of the classroom mock trial as a way of organizing their thoughts and arguments, developing characters, and clarifying the plot.
  4. Set up your classroom according to the basic courtroom layout shown in the presentation.
  5. Facilitate the trial according to the included breakdown of the trial proceedings.
  6. Allow time for deliberation amongst the jury members and discussion amongst the rest of the class before a verdict is reached.
  7. Have the jury members announce the verdict they’ve reached and then you can announce the official sentencing for Friar Lawrence based on their decision!

>>>This Romeo and Juliet mock trial activity is included in a unit plan:

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