Eighth graders took a tour this week of the D.C. Superior Court and several monuments this week. The courts trip is part of the eighth grade English class’s Justice Unit, which includes several historical fiction and nonfiction stories related to famous court cases like the Scopes trial and the Salem witch trials. Students observed trials and got to speak to a judge about the challenges in his job, and maintaining a fair and unbiased courtroom. The students have been studying the signing of the Constitution and founding of the government in eighth grade history. While the government shutdown threw a wrench into some of the plans, limiting access to the National Archives, students got an insight into how the three branches of government work through trips to the Jefferson Memorial and the Supreme Court, as well as a visit with D.C. shadow senator Michael Brown.