Mock Trial in the Classroom: Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Harrison Bergeron’

This Mock Trial in the Classroom full curriculum was created by Peggy Karotko of James Monroe Middle School in Eugene, Oregon (Thanks Peggy!) in partnership with Civics Learning Project. Thanks also to Dennis Gerl, of for designing many of the templates for the student handouts. This is the first of several Mock Trial Curriculums designed around commonly read middle school and high school literature that will become available in the coming year. Even if you don’t read Harrison Bergeron with your students regularly, this short story by Kurt Vonnegut, about a future United States where extra Amendments have been added to the Constitution to ensure equality is a valuable narrative to introduce conversation about rights, equality, and the government’s role in both.

You can use this Mock Trial in the Classroom model as a template for other literature you may read with your students. This curriculum is designed to complement a Middle School block humanities class or social studies class. You can also access the student handouts to use whichever you might like to use.  However, it can be adapted and adjusted however you believe it might fit your students’ needs. Available on the sidebar for download in Word & PDF format:

Bergeron v. Glampers

The Harrison Bergeron Mock Trial


Section 1 – Teacher’s Guide & Instructional Materials
  • Introduction
  • Harrison Bergeron & The Constitution: a Suggested Humanities Unit Framework
  • Bergeron v. Glampers Pre-Trial Sequencing
  • The Mock Trial Activity Guide
  • Mock Trial Public Speaking Skills
  • Mock Trial Vocabulary
  • Asking Different Kinds of Questions to tell a story: Building Block Activity
  • Mad Libs: How to determine who is responsible?
  • Mock Trial Parts for up to 41 students
  • Mock Trial Procedure (Sequence of Events)
  • Developing a Theory of the Case
  • The Probable Cause Continuum: Criminal v. Civil levels of proof needed
  • Using Objections in a Mock Trial
  • Suggested Courtroom Set Up (diagram)
  • Permission Slip Template
Section 2 – The Crime Scene
  • Understanding the issues: what does it mean to use a “handicap” in sports or for other reasons (distinguishing “handicap” from “disability” for purposes of understanding the story)
  • Harrison Bergeron, a short story by Kurt Vonnegut
Section 3 – Case Materials: Bergeron v. Glampers
  • Case Summary, List of Witnesses, List of Exhibits
  • Complaint
  • Answer
  • Affidavit of George Bergeron (Plaintiff)
  • Affidavit of Hazel Bergeron (Plaintiff)
  • Affidavit of Diana Moon Glampers (Defendant)
  • Affidavit of Broadcast Announcer
  • Affidavit of Musician
  • Affidavit of Ballerina
  • Affidavit of Old Doctor
  • Exhibit A – ORS-30.020 (Wrongful Death)
  • Exhibit B – Handicapper Guidelines
  • Exhibit C – The Declaration of Independence (excerpt)
  • Exhibit D – The Bill of Rights (simplified version)
  • Exhibit E – Crime Scene Drawing
  • Exhibit F – 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (excerpt)
  • Exhibit G – Constitutional Amendments 211, 212, 213
  • Exhibit H – Constitutional Amendment 214
  • Exhibit I – Constitutional Amendment 215
Section 4 – Student Materials
  • What’s your role?
  • Summons form
  • Steps in a Trial
  • Bailiff’s Preparation Form & Oath
  • Clerk’s Preparation Form & Timesheet
  • Eye Witness Affidavit Outline
  • Expert Affidavit Outline
  • Witness Analysis Form
  • Witness Profile Template
  • Exhibit Analysis Form
  • Plaintiff’s Theory of the Case
  • Defendant’s Theory of the Case
  • Opening Statement Preparation Form
  • Direct Examination of Eyewitness Preparation
  • Expert Witness Direct Examination Preparation
  • Cross Examination Preparation Worksheet
  • Closing Argument Preparation Form
  • Jury Observation Checklist: Plaintiffs
  • Jury Observation Checklist: Defendant
  • Jury Verdict Form
  • Entire Mock Trial Script for this case
Section 5 – Score Sheets & Evaluation Rubrics
  • Official OR Presiding Judge Ballot (overall scoring)
  • Official OR Mock Trial Score Sheet for Attorneys
  • Official OR Score Sheet for Witnesses
  • Individual Evaluation Rubric for students & teachers
Section 6 – After the Mock Trial
  • Socratic Seminar Discussion – Essential Questions
  • Final Reflection


Links to supplemental materials in the curriculum:


For questions or to give us feedback on your use of these materials, please contact Chris Parrucci.