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Mock trial is designed to introduce students to our legal system by providing a challenging, academic competition. The program offers students an opportunity for personal growth and achievement, emphasizing the importance of research, presentation, and teamwork. In addition to teaching students about contemporary public issues and the legal system, the program encourages teachers and students to develop learning partnerships with professionals from the community.

At Ankeny High School, the teacher sponsor works with an attorney-coach to help students learn and understand the law and court procedure. We receive a mock trial case, assume the roles of witnesses and attorneys, and then prepare to try the case at a competition against other teams from the area at a regional competition, with the possibility of advancing to the state or even national competition. Students practice teamwork, employ problem-solving and critical thinking, practice communication skills, and think on their feet to respond to questions, objections, and responses.

AHS teams typically practice one night during the week for two hours and on Sundays (we do whatever works best for the students involved and the attorney coach). We practice during the week via Zoom and have been practicing at Southview on Sundays because I also coach two freshmen teams that meet on Sundays at Southview. The high school competition is in early March, but the case is revealed at the end of December, so teams start practice after winter break. The season is really January-March.

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