Mock Trial Unit Combines Ecology and Civic Engagement

This immersive unit challenges students to research invasive species and think about how
humans regulate or change the environment through a mock trial. Students will dive deeper into the
complex issues between humans and the environment by thinking critically to analysis research and form
a statement for their role in the mock trial. Students will consider why invasive species are a concern, learn
how invasive species came to be introduced to an ecosystem, how the environment is managed within a
community, and what can be done to reduce the environmental impact of invasive species. This lesson is
not designed to introduce students to the concept of invasive species. It is recommended that students
are already familiar with the term prior to the start of this lesson.  Recommended for grades 6-12.

K-5.ETS1.A.1, K-5.ETS1.B.1, K-5.ETS1.C.1, K.PS3.B.1, 4.PS3.B.1, 4.PS3.B.2, 3.PS1.B.1, 5.ESS1.B.1, 6-8.ETS1.B.1,
6-8.ETS1.B.3, 9-12.PS3.A.3


A special thanks to Dale Dufer and Jean Ponzi for planting this seed of an idea, LAD Foundation for the funding that germinated the project, and Kat Golden for her lesson writing skills that made this project bear fruit!


About the Project

In 2018, Dale Dufer, the artist who spearheads the Think About Tables initiative to raise awareness about the bush honeysuckle issue, took things to the next level by taking this invasive plant to trial.

The trial was so fun, so engaging, and so chock-full of interdisciplinary learning, that Dale and friends decided to develop a lesson plan so others could replicate the experience. And so began the work to develop a guide for teachers and students to stage their own mock trials of invasive plants….

Downloads are available below and in our Document Library.