Defining Fairness

It is important to define fairness and understand what it means to us. Discussing this helps us better understand other people and our emotions.

Defining fairness
Grade Level: 6-12


Character Skills
  • Fairness
SEL Skills
  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
Academic Skills
  • Effective Problem-Solving


  • Play by the rules.
  • Take turns and share.
  • Be open-minded. Listen to others.
  • Don’t take advantage of others.

Identify and understand emotions, values, attitudes, motivations, mindsets, and personal attributes.

Social Awareness

Assess the feelings of others and be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.

Effective Problem-Solving

Employ critical and creative thinking skills to solve problems and make rational, ethical, and effective decisions that produce the best possible result.   

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Students will be defining fairness and discussing what it means to be fair, and what is considered unfair in their world. This lesson will give students the opportunity to view fairness from multiple perspectives, so they can create a more expansive picture of what it looks like and sounds like in different settings and situations. 


“Win or Lose, Do It Fairly.”  – Knute Rockne

“The Way You See People Is the Way You Treat Them, And the Way You Treat Them Is What They Become.”– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“Live So That When Your Children Think of Fairness and Integrity, They Think of You.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr

“Fairness Is Not an Attitude. It’s A Professional Skill That Must Be Developed and Exercised.” –  Brit Hume

“I Think Perfect Objectivity Is an Unrealistic Goal; Fairness, However, Is Not.”– Michael Pollan

“From the Equality Of Rights Springs Identity Of Our Highest Interests; You Cannot Subvert Your Neighbor’s Rights Without Striking A Dangerous Blow At Your Own.”– Carl Shurz

“You Cannot Be Fair to Others Without First Being Fair to Yourself.” – Vera Nazarian

“If You Want to See the True Measure of a Man, Watch How He Treats His Inferiors, Not His Equals.” – J. K. Rowling

 “We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident: That All Men Are Created Equal.” – Declaration of Independence


Partner discussion (2 min)

  • What is something you think is unfair?
  • What is the definition of fair?

Productive Group Work (10 min)

  • Place quotes around the room (images or list of them)
  • Students will meet with a group to discuss each quote.
  • The students will develop a definition or attributes of fairness based on the meaning they attributed to the quote.

Share out your team’s definition of fairness (5 min).

Create a class definition of fairness that everyone agrees on (5 min).

Student Reflection

  • What was your favorite quote and why?
  • What is important to remember about fairness?
  • What can you do to help in unfair situations?

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