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ISBA’s Mock Trial Program

The mission of the ISBA Center for Law & Civic Education is to serve attorneys, educators, students, and the public as a permanent state resource on law and civic education. The Center designs and implements programs that enhance citizenship, individual understanding of the law,

and democratic values. Through a variety of law and civic education programs, the Center helps students develop the necessary skills to participate in a democratic society. With its programs and projects, the Center provides a link between attorneys and the communities they serve.

 

Through the Center’s mock trial program, more than 4,000 participants from more than 300 middle and high schools get a hands-on opportunity to examine legal processes and current legal issues. In addition to providing familiarity with the law, mock trials also helps students develop important critical thinking skills and aid in the development of fundamental research, preparation, and presentation skills. Mock trials encourage the involvement of outside resource

persons in the classrooms. To help prepare students for this activity, teachers call upon lawyers, judges, law students, and other legal professionals to work with participants on the various aspects of preparing a case and conducting a trial. Many lawyers and judges serve as attorney-coaches and work alongside teachers on a regular basis to provide guidance and expertise.

 

 

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Know Your Constitution Program

(Young Lawyers Division Know Your Constitution Committee)

The primary goal of the Know Your Constitution program is to promote and aid in the education of Iowa high school students about the United States Constitution. The students are required to both understand and apply the provisions of the Constitution. The program stimulates interest in the law and creates pride in the high school students who participate. It also encourages critical thinking skills concerning a citizen’s constitutional rights. Finally, it is a valuable learning experience and promotes good citizenship and values.

 

Overseen by this ISBA committee, the annual Know Your Constitution program reaches every high school in the state. Each year, the committee prepares and distributes a 50-question, multiple-choice quiz covering the United States Constitution. The quiz also includes as essay question, which requires students to analyze a set of facts and apply constitutional principles to arrive at a legal solution. The quiz generally is administered by social studies teachers in grades 9-12, with many teachers making the program part of their curriculum on federal or state constitutions.

 

The Know Your Constitution committee selects a finalist from each of Iowa’s 100 House of Representatives districts, when possible. The names of five finalists, and their teachers, are drawn at random for a one-week, all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.