Teaching Guide:

for grades 7-12
This material is from the teaching guide for the video "Fairness" in the series
"In Search of Character" produced in association with CHARACTER COUNTS!

Are You a Fair Person?
(Take this self-evaluation and decide for yourself.)

True False  
I treat other people the way I want to be treated.
I treat people with equanimity and impartiality.
I am open-minded and reasonable.
I play by the rules.
I don't take advantage of people.
I consider the feelings of all people who will be affected by my actions and decisions.
I think I am/am not a fair person because: ___________________

"It is reasonable that every one who asks justice should do justice."
- Thomas Jefferson

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"Fairness" - The Video
This program helps young people understand how to live by the golden rule, what it takes to be a fair and just person, and how much our personal actions really do matter. Learn more . .

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Click play for a sampling of
"In Search of Character"
"In Search of Character"
The Series
This award winning video series spotlights ten core virtues that help teens develop into caring, respectful, responsible people who make choices based on what's right, rather than what they can get away with.
Learn more . . .

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For more information about individual videos in this series, click on the title below.

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If you are using the video, ask questions 1 & 2 before viewing.

1. Agree or disagree: It's an unfair world, and nothing I do is going to change that.

2. How do you know when something is unfair?

3. What does treating people fairly mean? Does fairness mean everyone gets the same amount, like an equal piece of a chocolate bar? Does fairness mean enforcing the rules for everyone, even if it means losing a game? Is it possible to treat everyone fairly?

4. In the video one kid said that fairness involves putting yourself in another person's shoes. Is this true? How is it possible to do that? What does the golden rule have to do with fairness?

5. What does it mean to be open-minded? What does it mean to be impartial? What do these things have to do with fairness?

6. Is it possible to be fair without considering everyone who will be affected by your decision? Give an example.

7. What does intolerance have to do with unfairness?

8. Most people think fairness requires us to treat people equally. What does it mean to treat people equally? Give examples of equal and unequal treatment.

9. Can you think of a situation in which it might be right to give someone a special advantage? Are there ever good reasons to give unequal consequences for the same offense?

10. What if being fair to others means sacrificing something important of your own, like time, money, or even your job? How can you determine what's fair when you have to choose between yourself and others?

11. How should you treat people who are not fair with you?

12. How did the Craig Kielburger story make you feel? What did you learn from it?

13. Do you agree with Craig that "Once we realize a problem exists, it's a call for action"? What kinds of actions did Craig take? Is it realistic to think the average teenager can take meaningful action, or is Craig just a special case?

14. Craig said every person is born with a special gift. What gift do you have that could be used to bring about more justice in the world?

15. What do you think Aristotle meant when he said, "All virtue is summed up in dealing justly"? Do you agree with him?

16. What does being fair have to do with the quality of your character?

17. What are the benefits of being a fair person? How do you benefit from the fairness of others?

18. Did the video present any ideas you disagree with?

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To find elementary and middle school teaching guides on Fairness and related topics,
click here.


1. Think of a time when you've taken unfair advantage of a person or a situation, or when someone has taken unfair advantage of you. Describe it. What was unfair about it? How did it make you feel? What did you learn from the experience?

2. How is fairness related to having respect for others? How is it related to honesty? To being reliable? To being a good citizen?

3. Craig Kielburger has written a book about his experiences fighting child labor called Free the Children (Harper Collins). It is very powerful, inspiring, and beautifully written. Have your students read it and write a book report.

4. Describe an unfair situation in your community and what you think should be done about it.

5. Research and write about how the legal system in a democracy attempts to administer fairness or justice. What are the elements of the legal system that are designed to make justice work?

6. Dr. Mike said that to make a fair decision you have to consider the stakeholders - all the people affected directly or indirectly by your decision. Set up a situation in which you have to make an important decision. For instance, choosing someone for a job. Are there more stakeholders than just the two applicants? How can you tell who has a stake in your decision? How does considering the stake-holders help you make a fairer decision?

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)

Other teaching guides in this series:

  •  Trustworthiness
•  Respect
•  Responsibility
•  Fairness
•  Caring
•  Citizenship
•  Honesty
•  Courage
•  Diligence
•  Integrity


1. Have your students visit this website <www.goodcharacter.com> and click on "Opportunities for Action." There they will find opportunities to become involved in activities and issues relating to fairness and justice. For students interested in child labor and human rights, our website provides links to Free The Children and other organizations involved with these issues.

2. As a class, make the following two lists: a list of things we sometimes do in our personal lives that are unfair, and a list of things we do as a society that are unfair. What could be done to rectify these injustices so we can cross them off the list? Whose responsibility is it to correct the injustices in our society? How could you contribute to the effort? How could we do better in our personal lives?

3. Invite a judge to come and talk to your class about how he/she makes a fair decision in the courtroom.

4. Bring in articles from newspapers and magazines describing situations in which fairness and justice is an issue. Decide who is acting fairly, and who is acting unfairly in these situations.

5. One aspect of fairness is equal opportunity. Do a research study in your school to see if students feel that they have equal opportunities. Are there groups of students who don't think they do? Consider race, class, and sex in your study. Is there a group of "outcasts" in your school who feel that they're being treated unfairly? What could be done to address these complaints. Share the results of the study with the staff and other students.

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)


Are you an athletic coach or recreation director? Would you like some ideas to help you develop the virtue of caring in your athletes? Then click here for Fairness & Sports.


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