Favorite Children’s Character Goes to Trial

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Portraying a cast of characters typically found in the pages of classic children’s stories, fifth-grade students at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School in the Bayport-Blue Point School District participated in a mock trial program in which the well-known fictional character Goldilocks was charged with trespassing in the second degree, criminal mischief and petit larceny for disrupting the family of the three bears. This project was an extension of the fifth-grade curriculum about the legal system and the culmination of several in-class workshops run by program creator Glen Vogel.

As the famous story goes, a young girl named Goldilocks travels through the home of the three bears sampling their food and disturbing – and in some cases destroying – their property along the way. During the mock trial, which put a twist on the familiar tale, the students played the roles of Goldilocks, prosecutors and defense attorneys, character witnesses, the three bears and witnesses for the prosecution, such as the Big Bad Wolf. For the event, the school’s gym was turned into a replica courtroom, complete with a judge, bailiff and fourth-grade students acting as jurors. To make the trial realistic, students were introduced to courtroom language and learned how the court system functions.

In the end, Goldilocks was found guilty on several accounts and the trial proved to be a valuable learning experience for all of the students involved.