Character education lessons, activities, and resources

Pillar: Fairness

Purpose: Students will discuss how to apply the concept of fairness to complex, real-life situations.


  • Students will discuss why fairness is so difficult to achieve.
  • Students will create a fair grading scale for class participation.

Discussion:  Ask students to discuss the following quote from Harvey Milk, “’All men are created equal.’ No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words.”  Questions may include:

  • What are some of the reasons people have tried to “erase” the idea of equality?
  • What point was Milk making here?
  • Why is it important to remember that everyone is created equal?
  • Who is responsible for making sure that everyone is treated fairly?
  • It can be hard to be fair to someone whose beliefs are very different from your own.What can you do to be fair in such circumstances?
  • Why do those who are different from the majority have to work hard for fair treatment?
  • What group do you think is treated least fairly in society today and why?
  • What can you do to increase fairness in your community?

Divide students into small groups.  Give each group the following issue to address:

Class participation is often a significant part of how students’ grades are determined, but it can be difficult to measure fairly.  Some students really do not like to talk in class or are not comfortable doing so.  Other students have something to say about everything and dominate the discussion if given the chance. Create a list of guidelines that would help both teachers and students participate in and evaluate class participation fairly.


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