Saint Victor School’s eighth grade, led by Literature teacher, Victoria Hinkle, brought literature to life by holding a mock trial based on the short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. The eighth grade class spent a few days reading and analyzing the classic American Gothic piece before the mock trial simulation.
Students were chosen to play the roles of judge, jury, prosecutor, defense attorney, bailiff, court reporter, and gallery. In the short story, Poe does not name the narrator, so the students chose the name Mr. Diamond for the defendant. The prosecution’s job was to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Diamond was sane when he committed the crime. The defense held that while Mr. Diamond did indeed commit the murder that he was legally insane.
This simulation required students to use their creativity, critical thinking skills, and cooperative group experiences to get the most out of the simulation and learn.
One young man described the mock trial as an “intense experience” and added that he learned that “just because you believe something doesn’t mean that you can convince someone else to believe it too.”
One student commented that the simulation felt real because all of the students took their roles seriously. Another student who played a juror experienced the difficulty of trying to get 11 other people to reach a unanimous decision. When asked why Mrs. Hinkle had assigned this project a young lady replied, “she wants us to see the different sides of the same story.”
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