From Learn NC, which provides K-12 learning materials from the UNC School of Education:
Postulates and proofs: Let's take it to the courtroom!
In this unit, the process of solving proofs is practiced using the comparison and framework of a courtroom setting. Students will work in groups to solve a proof and then defend it in a class courtroom setting.
A lesson plan for grades 9–10 Mathematics
In this unit, the process of solving proofs is practiced using the comparison and framework of a courtroom setting. Students will work in groups to solve a proof and then defend it in “court.” This unit challenges and engages students, while building their confidence as they learn to support their arguments with sound, logical statements and reasons. Students will have both individual and group assessments during these lessons
Learning outcomesStudents will:
- apply prior knowledge of the definitions, postulates, theorems, lines, angles, and triangles to solve proofs.
- demonstrate the ability to create a sequential flow of reasoning by writing each logical step in a proof as a separate statement in the left column and writing its justification in the right hand reasoning column.
- demonstrate a conceptual understanding of how to solve a two-column proof by searching for the answers to higher order thinking questions, revealing a more thorough understanding of the content.
- be able to make a convincing presentation to a courtroom that a proof is correctly solved.
- demonstrate proficiency of using inductive and deductive reasoning to solve proofs and problems.
Time requiredSeven to eight class periods (on a block schedule) or fourteen class periods (on a regular class schedule)
- Geometry proofs — each group is assigned a different proof and each member of the group needs their own copy
- Group folder documents:
- Courtroom bellringer activity — one per student
- Problem-solving circle role cards — one per group
- Geometry vocabulary chart — one per student
- Collaborative group work rubric — one per student
- Trial Guide — one per student
- “Let’s take it to the courtroom!” rubric set:
- Teacher observation rubric — one per class
- Proof rubric for judge — one per group
- Trial rubric for jurors — one copy per juror for each trial
- Proofs unit test — one per student
- Laptops for research and presentations
- Presentation software or program (such as Prezi, SlideRocket, SMART Notebook, Word, PowerPoint)
- Multimedia projector and computer
- Interactive whiteboard
- Courtroom 101 video (optional)
- Teen court video (optional) Note: The video is a teen court case in Florida. The content surrounds a teen that made a bad choice, and it involves the topic of drugs. Please watch the video first to decide if it is appropriate for use in your class.
The Trial Guide continues for another 4 1/2 pages.