Mock Trial Program

The WALS Foundation is the originator of a now state-wide Educational Mock Trial program. This program and is now available to all fifth grade teachers in the State of West Virginia.

The Mock Trial Program is a free and effective way to complete your Next Generation Standard and Objective in Social Studies year after year. The program is a two-day project that takes place in the classroom. Students play all scripted roles except that of the judge (played by a local lawyer).

The entire program is available here on the WALS Foundation website, including easy access to the teacher's manual, how-to videos, helpful links, and printable handouts.

The manual includes everything you need to complete the program: teacher instructions, a role list and descriptions, prop suggestions, scripts, lawyer packet and verdict forms, and a sample press release.

We have also included 10 additional scripts at the bottom of the download page, including appropriate role lists, prop suggestions and verdict forms – so take your pick and ENJOY!

This established Mock Trial Program will allow your students bring the American Justice system to life as they become educated on the dangers of substance abuse. Role playing helps them learn in a creative and fun manner!

Educational Tours, The First State Capitol

As a service and tribute to our local educators, from middle–school through high school, the WALs Foundation provides free "age–appropriate" guided tours for up to 40 students using the First State Capitol as a historic reference point, and utilizing its unique historical and constitutional significance to the state and nation as a back–drop to West Virginia’s early history. If you are an educator and wish to schedule a tour, please call Kera Holmes at 304–232–8180.

Important Messages

Fifth Grade Teacher's Manual »

Download the entire Mock Trial Teacher's Manual or individual pages. Additional scripts can be found at the bottom of the table of contents.


Recognizing that all children are at-risk for juvenile delinquency behavior, The WALS (Wheeling Academy of Law and Science) Foundation, in 2004, under the direction of Barbara K. Knutsen, Executive Director, designed a mock trial program that brings the system of American justice to life as it addresses the subject of substance abuse, most recently prescription drug abuse.

The goal of the program is to demonstrate the objective of justice and workings of our civil and criminal justice system by allowing all the students to act out the roles of lawyers, witnesses, jurors and more, based on factual case scenarios (scripts) prepared by the Foundation. These scripts portray the unfortunate circumstances that can occur when the choice is made to abuse drugs, leading right up to a day in court where the defendant’s future depends on the decision of twelve strangers (jurors) who have been chosen to decide their fate.

The first day of the program is designated to discuss the roles in a courtroom, going through a rehearsal and most importantly educating the students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse which is now an epidemic in the state of West Virginia. The mock trial is on the second day with props to add to the fun! New gavel bracelets for student participants have been included in the manual contents. Area lawyers culminate the project by volunteering to play “Judge” in the mock trial, so teachers and students also get the opportunity for a brief question and answer series with their “Judge” upon completion of the program.

Over 13,000 4th/5th and 8th grade students from eleven West Virginia counties participated in the two-day program by 2013 when the outreach became statewide for all 5th grade students. THE PROGRAM MEETS THE WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION NEXT GENERATION CONTENT STANDARDS AND OBJECTIVES (CSO) FOR GRADE 5 SOCIAL STUDENTS WHICH STATES: “All 5th grade students will assume a role in a mock trial.”

Currently, the West Virginia Department of Education distributes information yearly to all West Virginia 5th grade teachers telling them about the established program that will help them meet their CSO as stated above year after year.

The WALS Foundation Mock Trial program has received funding over the years through grants from WV DHHR, along with a special eighteen month award from Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Mock Trial program was developed at the Foundation with the support of WV DHHR and the Appalachian Regional Commission. For more information, contact Barbara Knutsen.

If those who believe in the Justice System do not educate the public, those who do not will.

— Patrick S. Cassidy, Founder and President The WALS Foundation

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