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Fairness (Grades K-5)

Overview: This lesson explores how an unfair situation can lead to frustration or anger and how to resolve it. It also allows students to demonstrate their understanding of fairness by recreating the rules to make a game fair for all participants.

Objectives: 

Students will:

  • experience an intentionally unfair game and discuss the impact of unfair situations
  • brainstorm how to make a game fair for all participants

Materials needed: Beach balls

Directions:

  1. Ask to the group to line up shortest to tallest. Divide the line in half so all the shorter people are on one team and the taller people are on the other.
  2. Have the taller people get in a circle on the outside with the shorter people in the center.
  3. Have them play a game of keep away where the outside circle tries to keep the ball away from the others. If someone in the middle gets the ball, the inside participants switch to the outside circle and the others go inside.
  4. After playing for a while, the taller team will most likely be keeping control of the ball and the shorter team may be getting frustrated.
  5. At this point, change the rules. Tell the taller team that they must all put one hand behind their back or in their pocket while they play.
  6. Play again now that the game is in favor of the other team.
  7. Put students in small groups and have them come up with a way to play the game that would be fair for all participants. Bring the students back together and come up with a set of rules for the game that all students agree is fair. 
  8. Play the game with your new class rules.

Discussion Prompts:

  • How did you feel when the game was in your favor?
  • How did you feel when the game wasn’t in your favor?
  • Do you ever get angry when things seem unfair?
  • What is a better way to handle an unfair situation?