Unit Title: Interpreting the Past – The Case of the “Bloody Massacre” Designed by: Fran O’Malley Director, Delaware Social Studies Education Project

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Closing Arguments

Purpose: 1. To summarize your case.

2. To put the pieces together for the scoring judges.

3. To point out credibility, bias, self-interest or prejudice of witnesses.

4. To be an advocate for your client.

Preparation for Trial: Organize in advance by anticipating your opponent’s arguments.

Presentation: 1. Stand facing the scoring judges.

2. Make eye contact with the judges.

3. Point out testimony which supports your case.

4. Point out testimony which damages your opponent’s case.

5. Simply state your case until you are sure it is fully understood.

6. Discard the unimportant and only argue what you feel is important.

7. Correct any misunderstandings that the judges may have.

8. Be relaxed and ready for interruptions if a judge asks questions.

9. Always be flexible by adjusting your statement to the weaknesses, contradictions, etc., in the other side’s case that actually came out at the trial.

10. Believe in your point of view.

11. Be dynamic. This is high drama. Take advantage of it.

Avoid: 1. Assuming the scoring judges have understood the impact of all of the testimony.

2. Using ridicule except with caution: for while it can be effective, it is also dangerous.

3. Confusing or illogical arguments.

4. Using weak words such as “We believe” and “We think.”

5. Asking the juror to put themselves in your client’s position.

6. Overt appeals to sympathy and prejudice of scoring judges.

7. Reading the whole statement.

Note: The prosecution’s rebuttal is limited to the scope of the defense’s closing argument.

Witness Statements and Testimony

General Suggestions: 1. If you are to testify about records, familiarize yourself with them before the trial.

2. Do not memorize what you will say in court, but try to recall just what you observed at the time of the incident. (Picture it in your mind as if you were there).

3. When called to the stand, be as relaxed and in control as you possibly can be.

4. If asked if you have discussed the case with anyone, indicate any occasion when you have talked with your attorney in preparation for trial.

5. Speak clearly so you will be heard. The judge must hear and record your answer. Do not respond by shaking your head “yes” or “no”.

6. Listen very carefully to questions. Before you answer, make sure you understand what has been asked. If you do not understand, ask that they be repeated.

7. Do not give your personal opinions or conclusions when answering questions unless asked to do so. Give only the facts as you know them, without guessing or speculating. If you do not know them, say you do not know.

8. If you answer a question incorrectly, ask the judge if you may correct it.

9. If the judge interrupts or an attorney objects to a question you answer, stop talking immediately. Do not resume until arguments and rules on an objection, the judge will instruct you to answer or not to answer the question asked.

10. Be polite while answering questions and do not lose your temper.

11. Be courteous to attorneys and the judge.

12. When answering a question from the judge say, “Yes, your Honor” or “No, your Honor”.

13. If the judge rules against your attorney on an objection, take the ruling gracefully.

Direct Examination

Purpose: To provide favorable information in order to prove the facts of your case.

Preparation for Trial: 1. Learn the case inside out, especially the witness statement.

2. Know the questions that your attorney will ask you on direct examination and prepare clear and convincing answers that contain the information that the attorney is trying to elicit from your testimony.

3. Practice with your attorney.

Presentation: 1. An appearance of confidence and trustworthiness is important.

2. Be sure your testimony is consistent with the facts set forth in your statement.

3. Remain calm if the attorney or judge asks you a question you haven’t rehearsed.

4. Wait for your attorney to complete a question before beginning your answer.

5. Occasionally, look at the judge when answering a question posed by your attorney.

6. Avoid annoying distractions while testifying, such as rocking back and forth.

7. Don’t be afraid to be a little animated.


Purpose: To make the other side’s factual presentation less believable.

Preparation for Trial: 1. Learn the case thoroughly, especially your witness statement.

2. Anticipate what you will be asked on cross examination and prepare answers accordingly. Isolate all the possible weaknesses, inconsistencies and problems in your testimony and be prepared to explain them.

3. Practice with your team’s attorney who will be conducting cross-examination of the person you are portraying.

Presentation: 1. Be sure your testimony is consistent with the witness statement.

2. If you make an incorrect statement during direct examination that wasn’t caught, don’t be afraid on cross-examination to admit your mistake.

3. Don’t volunteer information. If a question calls for a simple answer, give it and stop even if there is an uncomfortable silence before the next question.

4. Don’t feel that you have to explain away testimony that the opposing counsel has made to appear bad for your side. That is the job of your attorney on redirect. Your attorney can, and should, come back on redirect and clear up any areas that need further explanation or clarification.

5. Good cross examination can be tough, so don’t get flustered. A witness who can respond well during cross examination can give his/her team some well earned points.

Appendix 12

Historical Analysis: Boston Massacre Comparison Chart

Directions: In this activity, you are to compare the information drawn from the testimony in the mock trial with the famous engraving drawn by Henry Pelham and reprinted by Paul Revere several days after the alleged massacre. Complete the left hand column (Based on Witness Testimony) before you view the cartoon.

Witness Testimony


How many soldiers were present at the shooting?

How many people were in the crowd that confronted the British Soldiers?

Describe the emotions revealed in the faces of the soldiers just prior to the shooting.

Were the townspeople threatening the soldiers in any way? If so, how?

Describe the formation of the soldiers.

What was the name of the building that the soldiers were standing in front of?

Were shots fired by anyone besides the soldiers standing on King Street?

Was it a dark or well-lit night?

Where was Captain Preston standing?

Did Captain Preston give the order to fire?

Appendix 13

Engraving of “The Bloody Massacre”

Appendix 14

Frayer Model: Propaganda


Appendix 15

The Massacre in Textbooks Over Time

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