Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 5-12, students play a game called We the Jury, in which they take on the role of a juror in a civil case. Their challenge is to analyze the evidence and use it to persuade their fellow jurors’ reasoning until they reach a consensus.  

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Simulate a jury service as a responsibility of citizenship.
  2. Demonstrate the role of the jury by evaluating the evidence in a case.
  3. Determine how evidence supports or refutes a claim.


  • Computers or other devices with Internet access
  • Interactive whiteboard


This lesson plan features a game called We the Jury developed by our partner, iCivics. In this game, students discover how a jury works by playing the role of a juror in a civil case, persuading their co-jurors to reach a fair verdict using evidence and weighing testimony.

Review the We the Jury Game Guide for step-by-step directions on how to play the game. Then, preview and play We the Jury to plan how you will adapt it to your students’ needs. If students will be playing in small groups, review tips on Setting Cooperative Gaming Expectations.

For ideas on how to use SnapThought with this game and for specific prompts to provide students with during game play, see We the Jury: Additional Features for My BrainPOP.

Build background knowledge or reinforce topics with these BrainPOP movies: Democracy, Court System, Trials, Citizenship, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Tell  students that today they will play a game, called We the Jury, in which they take on the role of a juror, analyzing evidence, weighing testimony, persuading the other jurors to come to agreement on a verdict.
  2. Ask students to share what they know about trials and juries. They can include what they’ve seen on TV or in the movies. Be sure to correct any of their ideas that are incorrect.
  3. To build background knowledge on courtroom trials and the role of a jury, watch the BrainPOP movie Trials as a whole class.  After the movie, review key concepts they will need to know to play the game, including trial, evidence, jury, trial by jury, burden of proof, verdict, plaintiff, defendant, prosecutor, judge, court, defense attorney, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, guilty, acquittal, sue and witness.
  4. Display We the Jury on the whiteboard. Click the Learn to Play button and read aloud the instructions on each screen. Then start a New Game to show them how they can click through to choose a case that interests them.
  5. Divide the class into pairs or small groups to play We the Jury. Then explain that they will pick a character to represent them as the juror, and listen to the closing arguments of the case. Instruct them to enable the tutorial   Allow students 20-30 minutes to play. Circulate, listening in to students’ discussions and decision-making, providing support as needed.  
  6. If students have individual logins through My BrainPOP, encourage them to use the SnapThought® tool to take snapshots during gameplay. Review We the Jury: Additional Features for My BrainPOP for suggested prompts.
  7. After students have played the game, come back together as a class to discuss their experience. Ask the following questions to prompt discussion:
    • Was the case criminal or civil? How do you know?
    • What made certain evidence more useful than others?
    • Were you able to bring all your jurors to consensus? If yes, how did you do it?
    • Why is jury duty important?

Extension Activities:

Have students interview an adult who has served on jury duty to learn about his or her experience. They may use the Activity page in BrainPOP’s Trial topic to guide their interview.