Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Fair is Fair

Teri Grunden


Students learn more about the concept of -fairness- by being involved in two unfair activities, role-playing three scenarios, and filling in a web about fairness.


The student understands how and why rules are made and knows that a good rule or law solves a specific problem, is fair, and 'does not go too far.'

The student knows various ways in which to resolve conflict using positive behavior.

The student understands why rules are necessary.

The student uses role playing to resolve everyday conflict situations (e.g., fighting over a toy, bullying others, and stealing someone's property).


-KIDS WITH CHARACTER, by Maureen Duran, 1995, Chantilly, A Choice in Education, pp. 16, 17
-Any type of ball
-Flashcard with the word -Fairness- written on it
-Large chart paper with a web drawn on it
-Bag of candy with individually wrapped pieces (enough for all students)
-Any type of chart to keep track of -fairness- trophies or awards
-Optional role-playing props: one toy and a wallet


1. Gather one ball and a bag of candy (enough for the class).
2. Make a flashcard with the word -fairness- written on it.
3. Make a small or large chart to keep track of -fairness-
4. Draw a large web on chart paper with the word -Fairness- written in the middle.
5. OPTIONAL: Photocopy ten -fairness- trophies on colored construction paper from KIDS WITH CHARACTER book, p. 16 and cut out (or students can cut out when they earn one).
6. OPTIONAL: Photocopy one -Fairness Remember- sheet from KIDS WITH CHARACTER, p. 17.


1. Have students sit on the floor in front of the teacher.

2. Choose one student to toss the ball to.

3. Toss the ball to the student, and then have the student throw it back to you.

4. Repeat step #3 to the same student several times.

5. Ask the other students, -Is it fair to throw the ball to the same student rather than other students in class?- Elicit responses and have students justify their responses (i.e. why or why isn't it fair).

6. Show a bag of candy to students and tell them you will pass one out to everyone until the bag is empty (total number of candy should be less than total number of students for this activity).

7. Ask students, -Is it fair that some people received a piece of candy and others did not?- -Why or why not?- (Collect all of the candy and tell everyone they will get a piece of candy at the end to be fair to all).

8. Role-play (positive and negative behaviors) the following situations listed below and discuss the concept of -fairness- in each scenario afterwards. Reinforce behaviors you want to observe. Props may be used (see materials list).
a) Two friends want to play with your favorite toy at the same time.
b) Your sister pushes you.
c) While shopping at a store, you find someone's wallet on the floor.

9. Show the flashcard with the word -fairness- written on it and post in classroom. Discuss the concept of fairness from the role-playing scenarios. Talk about the best solutions to each scenario (positive and negative behaviors) and have students justify their responses. Talk about why rules are made and why people follow rules in a -fair- way.

10. As a class fill in the web on the large chart paper. Ask questions like, -What words mean the same as fair?- -What does being fair mean to you?- to stimulate responses. Direct the discussion to include consequences for breaking rules, rewards, and positive/negative actions to situations (i.e. someone hits you by mistake; hit the person back (negative) or talk to the person (positive) to resolve the conflict.

11. After the classroom discussion, fill in the web chart on -fairness.- Brainstorm a definition of -fairness- and add this to the web chart.

12. Conclude the lesson by giving everyone a piece of candy. Ask if this is fair to everyone.

13. OPTIONAL: As a culmination activity, read the -Fairness Remember- sheet, p. 17 from KIDS WITH CHARACTER to review -fairness principles.- Post the sheet in the classroom.

14. OPTIONAL: Show students the -fairness- trophies from KIDS WITH CHARACTER, p. 16 and tell them you will award the trophies to students who exhibit -fairness- behaviors (verbal, nonverbal or through actions). -Fairness- concepts learned from this lesson include: agreeing to and following rules; receiving what you deserve (awards or consequences depending on the situation) and listening to both sides of a story.

15. Tell students you will keep a chart for a week (or month) of the number of trophies awarded to each student (for demonstrating -fairness- behaviors as listed in #13). Count the number of -fairness- trophies awarded at the end of the week (or month) to recognize student achievement.


Use a checklist with students' names on it to mark off when students exhibit acts of fairness in and out of the class. If you use the fairness trophies, the checklist could be used to keep track of the number earned.

Teacher observation for a week (or month) of students interacting appropriately with each other during conflicts as a formative assessment.

Look for students displaying fair behaviors through speech and actions as depicted in the role-playing activities done from this lesson and for the next week (or month).


Additional -fairness- activities can be found in KIDS WITH CHARACTER, pp. 13-17.

Books that deal with -fairness- include: LITTLE RED HEN, by P. Galdone (1973) and DON'T CALL ME BEANHEAD, by Susan Wojciechowski (1994).

Working with Words Block - Students can use letters to practice the following words: justice, (un)fair, fairness, right(s), conflict, solution, honest and other words generated from the class on fairness.

Self-Selected Reading Block - Students can choose books on -Fairness- from the bibliography from KIDS WITH CHARACTER, p. 85 and BAY COUNTY CHARACTER EDUCATION CURRICULUM GUIDE, grades K-5.
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