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Ethical Issues

Found in: social studiespreK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

Introduction to Philosophy offers 11 self-contained modules with lesson plans, suggested readings, discussion questions, and study guides to support teachers. Two of these modules deal with ethical decision-making. The ethics modules can be used as presented or to provide instructor background in grade 7-12 social studies and bioethics classes. Here are more lessons including resources for younger students and a games set:


  • Ethics is a 15-day module in ethical decision-making designed to help students better explain why they hold certain choices to be the right ones. The module looks at five approaches to moral thought: virtue, duty, utility, right, and care.
  • Applied Ethics asks students to apply what they learned in ethics when they examine three topics: affirmative action in universities (2 days), the moral status of animals (2 days), and bioethics (2 days). Each topic includes cases, guiding questions, and footnotes for teachers. Readings are suggested, but the cases alone can provide good discussion.
  • Logic and Philosophical Methods is a 10-day module that introduces students to philosophy and the nature of philosophical inquiry. It covers deductive and non-deductive arguments, fallacies, translating arguments in symbolic form, and valid and invalid arguments.
  • Lesson Plan: What's Right And Wrong? Moral Messages In Art Students in grades 6-10 examine two paintings and their presentation of moral issues, discuss ethical issues in society today, and write a short position paper on an issue raised by the paintings or in discussion. Lists Illinois Standards.
  • Copyright Infringement Or Not? The Debate Over Downloading Music Students in grades 9-12 investigate ethical issues raised by downloading music from the Internet. They examine their own experiences, research legal issues, and develop persuasive arguments for a class debate.

Lessons for Lower Grades:

  • Artifact Ethics Students in grades K-5 examine what they believe about protecting archaeological sites what actions they might take to protect sites and artifacts. Lists North Carolina Standards.


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