Educator's Briefcase

Educator's Briefcase

The Visitor Education Center is designed to provide visitors with an understanding and appreciation of the history, role and responsibilities of the Ohio court system.

The Center provides teachers with the tools to meet Benchmarks and Grade Level Indicators from the Ohio Department of Education’s Social Studies Standards. In addition to Government and Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities, the exhibits also meet Benchmarks in Geography, People in Society and Economics.

To add value to your group visit, we have worked with a cross-section of teachers to create suggested pre-and post-tour activities based on the content of the Education Center and how it relates to your goals in the classroom. Our education advisors believe these activities will enhance the experience for you and your students. We hope you have the opportunity to share them with your class.

If you have any questions regarding your visit or any of the information provided, please call 614.387.9223. If you would like to schedule a tour, please call 614.387.9223 or email courttours@sc.ohio.gov.

Download the complete Pre and Post Tour Activities document.

You Decide
The first exhibit area in the Visitor Education Center features eight different Ohio court cases. Each case presents an important issue decided by the courts. As time allows, students will get an overview of selected cases and also have a chance to explore on their own. Cases are discussed based on grade level.

Balance of Power
Ohio’s government is separated into three independent branches. Each branch has the ability to limit the power of the other two. Elementary students will have a chance to “"balance"” the government with the interactive Balance of Power exhibit.

Dispute Resolution
Popular television programs portray courts as hostile places focused on punishment, when in reality peaceful resolution of conflict is the ultimate goal of the judiciary. Often times, this occurs through methods other than a jury trial. Mediation, a form of dispute resolution, is presented in a fictional scenario involving child custody.

Dursley v. Hagrid
This fictional civil trial stems from a well-known incident from the first book in the Harry Potter series. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a popular character, Hagrid, uses magic to give a pig’s tail to Dudley Dursley, Harry’s cousin and nemesis. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley think Hagrid is responsible for paying the cost of removing the tail but Hagrid disagrees. Students will role-play the trial and discuss the importance of fairness and impartiality in the courts. Also, important concepts about courtroom procedures, evidence and witnesses will be discussed during this activity.

Humphrey v. Lane
This real life case centers on a dispute between Wendell Humphrey and his employer, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The central issue is religious freedom versus the department’s grooming policy for correction officers. Middle School students will have an opportunity to conduct this trial and participate in a follow-up discussion about the appellate process.

State of Ohio v. Hank Dobbs
High school students will role-play a fictional case of State v. Dobbs. Graphic panels tell the story of young Hank Dobbs and his journey through the court system. Visitors gain further understanding of the trial and appellate process and why a legal matter may be heard by the state's highest court.

Identity on Trial
The Visitor Education Center includes five exhibits featuring the use of science in courtrooms. Students will track the impact of scientific advances from eyewitness accounts to photography, fingerprints, DNA and even brain scans. Past court decisions provide examples of how science furthered justice but also raised questions about legal issues and civil liberties.

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