The Cost of Lying

Honesty is not always easy, but lying affects more than just your character. The cost of lying is much greater than you think when you are in the moment where a lie may be the easiest answer. 

The cost of lying
Grade Level: K-5


Character Skills
  • Trustworthiness
SEL Skills
  • Self-Awareness
Academic Skills
  • Diligence


  • Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal.
  • Have integrity. Do what you say you’ll do.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Be loyal. Stand by your values.

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


Exhibit a growth mindset and willingness to learn from mistakes.

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This lesson allows students to explore the impact of lies on their relationships and themselves.They will consider how being honest honest, even when it’s hard, is the best long-term decision. 


Large Group

  1. Watch the TEDx Talk from Georgia Haukom. The Effects of Lying
  2. Break students up into pairs or in small groups.

Partners/Small Group

  1. Have students answer the following questions in their pair/group. Encourage students to brainstorm as many ideas as possible.
    • Georgia shared about a study where the adults telling lies had negative things happen to their health. What other things do you think happen to you when you tell a lie?
    • Thinking about how someone else will feel is always good to consider when making a decision. How could a lie make someone else feel?
  2. Bring students back to the large group to have a discussion. Be sure to share your own life examples of how you may have been negatively impacted by a lie you have told or been told. Ask students to share their own experiences if they are comfortable.

Discussion Prompts
  • After the large group discussion, encourage students to do a self-reflection of their own honesty.
  • Ask students to privately rate themselves 1-3 on their own honesty. 1 is that “I always tell a lie”, 3 is that “I always tell the truth), and 2 is that “Sometimes I have lied.”
  • We often say we don’t have to be sick to get better, so this self-reflection is designed to allow all students, no matter where they scored themselves, to think about how they can grow. Ask students to think about the following prompts:
    • When was one time I told the truth when it was hard?
    • Why did I choose the truth, even though a lie would have been easier?
    • Where is one place I could work on being more honest? Encourage students to think about their honesty at home, school, with friends, in their community, etc. Remind them that sometimes not giving all the details is also dishonest, so it helps them think of a specific example.

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