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Fair or Unfair?

Claire Lynch
EDT 417

Application Question: What does it mean for something to be fair or unfair? How
does fairness affect a just citizen?
So What? Students must understand what is fairness and how the concept of
fairness and unfairness can affect them on a local scale, and in a larger community.
NCSS Thematic Strand: Government: Rules and Lawsi
Ohio Academic Content Standard:
Strand: Government
Topic: Rules and Laws
Topic Description: Rules exist in different settings. The principles of fairness
should guide rules and consequences for breaking rules.
Content Statement: Rules exist in different settings. The principles of fairness
should guide rules and consequences for breaking rules.
Grade Level: 1st grade
Class Periods Required: 2 Class Periods (1 Hour total)
Purpose, Background and Context: This lesson will be used to teach 1st grade
students about situations that are fair and unfair. Students will be able to experience
fairness and unfairness through this activity. They will also be able to reflect on the
activity and define fair and unfair through their own experiences. The purpose of
this lesson is to teach students how citizens need to be fair to one another, and
government and laws must be fair for members of the community.
Goals/Objectives/Student Outcomes/Performance Expectations: Students will
be able to experience issues related to fairness. They will identify fair and unfair
situations, and accurately be able to brainstorm ways they can show fairness
towards each other.
o Bag of candy
o Paper bags used as a puppet, (one side with a smiley face, the other with a
o Glue
o Scissors
o Printed out smiley and frown faces
o Handout with different fair and unfair situations for teacher
o Chart paper/ pen for class constitution
o Paper and students art materials.
1. 5-10 minutes
Teacher separates students into two groups by where they are sitting
The teacher will send one group to the left of the room and one group
to the right without telling them what the class is doing.
Teacher will choose a group to favor and ignore the other group.
Teacher will walk over to the favored group, and hand each child a

piece of candy and tells the other group that they will not be getting
The teacher will then tell the favored group, they will have extra
recess and no homework, but the other group will not (students will
respond saying, thats not fair! Or complain)
When the students have realized the unfairness of the activity, stop
and reflect with them.
2. 5 Minutes
Teacher will begin the reflection by asking the students how they felt
during the exercise. How would they feel on the other side?
3. 5-7 Minutes
The teacher will write the word fair on the board and have an open
discussion about what fair and unfair means.
Was the activity fair or unfair?
What would have made it fair if it wasnt fair?
Should all students have gotten candy or just some?
4. 10-15 minutes
Have students return to their desks for the second part of the activity.
Teacher will hand out a sheet with a smiley face and a frowning face
and have students cut out the faces.
Teacher will then pass out brown paper bags and have students glue
the faces on either side (frown face on one side, smiley face on the
other creating a puppet)
Teacher tells students that they will be read situations and the
students must decide if they think that the situation is fair or unfair by
holding up their puppet (smiley face side is fair) (frown side is unfair)
Teacher will then ask the students to say why they think the situation
is fair, or why not.
Teacher will choose a few examples that are unfair, and ask students
to come up with ways to make them more fair.
Day 2:
5. 1-2 minutes
When students are at their desk, the teacher will ask if anyone recalls
what the class talked about the day before (fair and unfair situations).
6. 7-10 minutes
Then the teacher will ask the students What is a rule? What are
some of the fair or unfair rules we have in the classroom?
After the students respond, the teacher will have the students
brainstorm a list of rules there are in the classroom and write them on
chart paper.
The teacher also asks students about ways they can be fair to their
classmates, family, friends, and members of the community (sharing,
taking turns etc.)
7. 15 minutes

Each student will get a piece of paper and divide the paper in half.
Students will choose something that is fair and draw it on one side,
and something that is unfair and draw it on the other.
Under each picture, the student must write 1-2 sentences explaining
why the situation they drew would be fair, or unfair.
The student then hands their finished product to the teacher.
Assessment Outcomes
Students will be read situations and they will have to decide whether they
think the situation is unfair, demonstrating whether they understand what
the two vocabulary words mean.
Students will have to brainstorm situations that are fair and unfair in their
own lives, and explain in 1-2 sentences why those situations are fair or
Extensions and Adaptions
Teachers could use smile/frown faces with almost any grade level. Especially
with talking about what is fair or unfair in their classroom community. These
faces could be used on a larger scale to see if students agree or disagree with
certain situations within their community as well.
Teachers could also use this activity in terms of voting as well. Students can
use the smiley/frowning faces to vote on different things in the classroom.
ESOL Adaptions
In this stage, ESOL students need gestures, teacher talk, physical
response, and the use of pictures. During this stage, teachers will
provide what the words fair and unfair mean in the ELLs native
language, accompanied with a smiley face and a frown face for
each word. This will provide a basis for the student as to what the
lesson is focused on.
The ELL students can still use their smiley faces and frown faces to
do the activity, they just may need pictures to represent the
situations to decide whether they are fair and unfair, and a lot of
teacher support.
The students can also pick from a selected list of ideas that are fair
and unfair and draw pictures of them. They do not need to provide
an explanation of why it is fair and unfair, but they may be able to
label the pictures fair and unfair even if its in their native
Early Production:
In this stage, ELL students can use one-word responses, and
provide yes/no answers.
The teacher can still provide things in the childs native language,
however, the student may understand more basic vocabulary. The
student may be able to say whether they agree or disagree with
situations using the physical smiley/frowning faces without
pictures to describe these situations.

The student can a fair and unfair situation and draw pictures of
them but doesnt have to write a sentence explaining it (just label).
Speech Emergence
At this stage, students can participate in small group activities, and
teachers can focus on key concepts and expand vocabulary.
Students will be able to fully participate in determining which
situations are fair and unfair using their smiley faces.
They will be able to choose two situations to draw, and also
provide a verbal explanation of the situations.
Intermediate Fluency
At this stage students can participate in reading and writing
activities to acquire information.
ELL should be able to fully participate in determining which
scenarios are fair and unfair, as well as participating in the class
discussion about what the word fair really means.
ELL can choose a rule to draw a picture of, and provide a written
explanation of the rule with one sentence.

What's Fair? Early Grades. (n.d.). Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved May 4,

2014, from
Appendices (Attached)
NCSS references are from National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of
Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Washington DC: National
Council for the Social Studies, 2010).