Students examine the role of the justice system by writing an accurate and concise description of the ways the justice system protects our rights. They then document examples that reflect important ways the justice system helps, and may be asked for help, to safeguard the rights of Canadians.
Set the context
Ask students to brainstorm and list rights that impact their daily lives. Invite students to consider aspects of their daily lives that could be affected by laws. Ask who is responsible for making laws and who is responsible for enforcing the laws? Ask students to identify what roles government representatives, police and judges play in the creation and enforcement of laws.
Use a web to summarize the role of the judiciary
Provide students with information about the justice system. You may wish to adapt materials from the Alberta’s Justice System in your Community resource or refer to authorized student resources and other reference sources (see References).
Organize students into groups of three or four. Ask students to use technology applications to create a web. Suggest the students place the title "How the justice system protects my rights" in the centre of the web. Invite the groups to work together to create the web. Ask students to highlight the ways the justice system protects the rights of Canadians and then cluster the ways in broad categories.
You may want to adapt Webbing Ideas (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Write a summary of ways the justice system protects our rights
Encourage students to use the completed webs to organize the writing of an individual summary that clearly explains how the justice system helps to protect the rights of citizens. Remind them that the summary is to be concise (75 to 100 words), to be accurate and to contain important information.
You may want students to exchange drafts of their summaries for peer assessment. Peers should check that the key ideas are present, the information is accurate and the writing is understandable.
Document local and current examples
Invite students to find examples that reflect how the justice system functions and affects the daily lives of citizens. Examples may be drawn from media sources and from observations or reports of issues and concerns of a local nature. Encourage students to include examples from diverse perspectives and situations of injustice. The examples can be matched to the summaries and webs for classroom display or used to create a scrapbook or digital presentation.
Draw attention to situations of injustice
Ask students to devise strategies to involve others in the process and draw attention to situations of injustice where action is necessary. Encourage students to select and use technology to communicate through appropriate forms, seek responses to inquiries, and generate solutions for problems.