This lesson is an extension to Lesson 5 on Understanding the Law, Analyzing Cases and Preparing Legal Briefs.  Therefore, at the end of this lesson, SWBAT:

(1) Learn about the importance of preparing a well-written legal brief.

(2) Use technology and conduct basic legal research.

(3) Analyzing cases: How to Brief Legal Cases.

(4) Discuss the early civil rights activism of African Americans and the court system. 


[Applicable DCPS content and skills standards as well as Common Core standards should be listed by number and include the actual text of the standard.]

 DC Social Studies Standards

12.4. Studens summarize landmark US Supreme Court cases.

Common Core Reading Literacy

RH. 11-12.1; RH. 11-12.2; RH. 11-12.4; RH. 11-12.10 Cite evidence, summarize, vocabulary, and complex texts.

Common Core Writing for Literacy

WHST 11-12.8a; WHST 11-12.8c; WHST11-12.5a Use digital resources, determine the value of a source, brainstorming, outlining (preparing a case brief)

WHST 11-12.1ai; WHST 11-12.1cii; WHST 11-12.1bi-bii Use evidence in paragraphs, cite evidence 


[Here, you should include a list of primary and secondary sources as well as other materials you will be using in the class. Attach all handouts and readings you will use for this lesson to the curricular unit.]

(1) Archival research (Class held in the Media Center Computer Area)

     (a) Access to the following cases: (i) Civil Rights Cases 1883; (ii) Plessy v. Ferguson (1896); (iii) Williams v. Mississippi (1898);    and (iv) Guinn v. United States (1915)

(2) How to Brief a Case: http://www.law.uh.edu/lrw/casebrief.pdf

(3) Citing Cases:  http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/bluebook/citing-cases.cfm 

Warm Up

[The warm-up refers to how you are going to introduce your lesson to the students you are teaching. While you can include administrative tasks here, you should primarily think about how you can prompt your students to begin thinking about the content and skills you will be teaching them. This can range from telling them your instructional objectives to asking them to respond to a question which engages their prior knowledge and experience with a major concept you will be teaching. Warm-ups can vary quite a bit from day to day, but should reflect the instructional objectives of the daily lesson plan and the curricular unit.]

Question: What is the significance of the holding in a case brief? 

New Material

[In this section, descriptively list the substantive material you will be using, how you will introduce it to students pedagogically, and what you want students to come away with. Any new content and skills material as well as distinct methods of inquiry that have not been introduced in earlier lessons within the curricular unit should be included here. Inquiry methods are the primary means through which research is conducted; these tend to vary by discipline. They relate to the types of questions, activities and sources that are used with specific content. Methods of investigation often frame how evidence and data are collected, examined, and reported within a given field. For example, literary critics may perform critical textual analysis, historians may conduct document analysis and triangulate evidence; political scientists may analyze public opinion polls. Inquiry methods can also be cross-disciplinary.]

Students will be exposed to new materials pertaining to how to analyzing case materials and actual case materials (e.g., texts of opinions).

In order to learn how to analyze case materials,  students will have the opportunity to listen to a licensed and practicing attorney who will speak to the students on the importance of preparing well-written legal briefs.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to engage in guided and independent practice on preparing case briefs.

Coupled with learning how to prepare case briefs, students will use technology to download case materials pertaining to: the Civil Rights Cases (1883)Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)Williams v. Mississippi (1898), and Guinn v. United States (1915). Following accessing the case materials, students will be provided the opportunity to apply the case brief analysis to preparing legal briefs. 


[This section explains the pedagogical activities that you will use with your students in reinforcing material you have already taught them and material you are currently teaching them. In order to learn new content, skills, and methods on inquiry, students will need multiple opportunities and ways to practice what they are learning independently and with guidance. Full descriptions of each learning activity and the materials to be used during that activity need to be included. Often times, the content, strategies, and skills are discussed in tandem and do not need to be separated from one another. When you do move from one content point to another or one skill to another, you need to include transitions.]

(1) Lesson Activator (5 minutes)

(2) Obtaining case materials and reviewing the Abbreviated Texts: (Civil Rights Cases, 1883); Williams v. Mississippi (1898); and Guinn v. United States (1915). In addition, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) will also be examined. (15 Minutes) 

(3) In-class Review: Reading and Preparing the Case Briefs (15 minutes)

(4) Guided and Independent Practice: Preparing a Case Brief (35 minutes)

(5) Review Final Drafts (15 minutes) 

(6) Closing (5 minutes)  


[This section illustrates how you will know that your students have learned what you taught them. This usually means that you will have students use the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they have learned in some way. The assessment should directly reflect the instructional objectives and be buttressed by the new material and practice engaged over the course of the lesson. It can be helpful to figure out how you are going to assess student learning after you develop the instructional objectives but before you develop the teaching methods you will use. Assessment includes formative “checks for understanding” throughout the lesson and summative, end of lesson evaluations.]

Lesson Activator

Final Preparation of a Legal Brief - final drafts of two briefs  (Major Written Assignment)

Summative Assessment - scheduled at a future day (within a week of finishing this unit)  

Closure and Reflection

[The closure of a lesson should directly tie the new material, student practice, instructional objectives, and assessment together. It should also connect this lesson to the previous lesson and link to the next lesson(s). In this is space you can also include your notes about how the lesson went. You should indicate what worked well, what was problematic, ideas for modifying the lesson for future use, and how this particular lesson ties in with others in the same curricular unit.]

After the teacher provides a summary of unit and lesson activites and probes further for understanding of the lesson materials, students will be asked to complete a final version of a legal brief as a requirement of this lesson.