Once Upon a Crime

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Once Upon a Crime
Legal literacy
Book, Curriculum – K-12, Mock trial

Cassidy, Wanda, and Yates, Ruth (2005). Once upon a crime: Using stories, simulations, and mock trials to explore justice and citizenship in elementary school, Calgary: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.

Description: This book identifies incidents in familiar stories where someone’s rights have been interfered with, and then asks children to solve the problems that the hurtful behavior has caused.  Did Goldilocks willfully trespass and destroy the property of the three bears? What crime did the wolf commit against the three little pigs? Is the wolf obligated to repair the homes? Was Peter Pan guilty of kidnapping? To find solutions to these, and other questions, students experience what it is like to investigate a crime scene, uncover important facts, weave these together into an argument supported with evidence and witnesses, and present their findings in a trial that simulates a court hearing. They also learn about other ways of resolving conflict, through mediation, negotiation and restorative justice processes. By participating in these activities, children learn about the role law plays in their lives and their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Students engage in critical thinking, hone literacy skills, and gain practice in resolving conflict.

This book offers step-by-step instructions for conducting mock trials based on fairy tales and other multicultural stories. Five complete trial scripts are included for classroom use. Also included are ideas for adapting contemporary stories into civil and criminal trials, mediation and negotiation activities.

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Sample pdf of Chapters 1-3 plus the exciting case of Her Majesty the Queen v. Goldilocks (Goldilocks and the Three Bears Mock Trial)

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