The Human Cannonball's Flight through the Courts

In 1973, Hugo Zacchini sued the Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Company for filming the entirety of his 15-second human cannonball act. Scripps-Howard argued they were protected by the First Amendment, which allows for free exercise of the press.

This lesson culminates in a mock trial where students act out the various roles - judge, attorneys, witnesses, and others - and decide the outcome of the case.

The following lesson plans are free, aligned with Ohio's Learning Standards, and are meant to help students better understand Ohio's court system, while also using evidence to support their arguments.

Elementary: Grades 4 & 5

Educators will use videos, worksheets, evidence, and other resources to lead students in activities and discussions about Hugo Zacchini's real-life case that made its way through Ohio's court system.

Educators should email HumanCannonball@sc.ohio.gov with their name and school/organization to request access to the Lesson Plan.*
Middle School: Grades 6-8

Educators will use videos, worksheets, evidence, and other resources to lead students in activities and discussions about Hugo Zacchini's real-life case that made its way through Ohio's court system.

Educators should email HumanCannonball@sc.ohio.gov with their name and school/organization to request access to the Lesson Plan.*

* If you do not receive an email response within one hour, please call the Civic Education Office at 614.387.9223 during weekday business hours.