2nd graders hand over a 'not-guilty' verdict in mock-trial - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

2nd graders take part in mock trial for the Big Bad Wolf

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It was a day in court for a group of Michiana second graders, as they tried a story-book character for his alleged crimes.

Jan Oltman's second grade class at Merritt Elementary School heard the case against the Big Bad Wolf in Wednesday's mock-trial.

All the students were given a role. There was the prosecution and defense, a jury and a group of witnesses. As for the judge? Steve Wolfram played that part. He's a real attorney. "It's not too young for them to learn their constitutional rights and appreciate that we're fortunate to live in the U.S. where we have those rights."

He started the mock trial program and he offers it to local elementary schools. "I've just enjoyed it so much and I'm really astounded by how well second graders can grasp the concept of a trial."

He walks the students through the entire court proceedings. The swearing in, court room etiquette, questioning the witnesses, and the deliberation process.

He handed the case over to the jury and after a few minutes of deliberating, they claimed a hung jury. Wolfram had the jury try to vote again and the final verdict? "The jury has reached a verdict of not guilty. Mr. Wolf you are free to go," Wolfram told the class during the trial.

A successful day for the defense, but their teacher says it was more than that. "They've learned a little bit more about our government and our country and how rules are made and if they're broken this is what happens and this is the procedure you have to go through," says Oltman.

Wolfram developed the program and has visited a handful of schools in the area. He says that while it's a fun activity, the mock trials do meet some of the common core standards for social studies.

To see about having Wolfram visit your classroom, call him at 269-429-3411.

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