Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Act of Honesty
Lesson 2
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Students role-play familiar scenarios in ways that follow the rules and support straightforward communication and also ways that do not support the rules. They discuss the value of rules for promoting the common good. This lesson extends over this class period and the next (Lesson Three is a continuation.)


One 20-minute lesson


The learner will:

  • engage in a role-play contrasting irresponsible/dishonest and responsible/honest behaviors.
  • describe how honest behaviors relate to the common good.
  • identify in scenarios how following rules and taking personal responsibility are examples of honesty.


Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills.  For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to generationon.org.


One copy of Attachment One: Scenario Cards, cut into the individual scenarios

Handout 1
Scenario Cards

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set
When the students are seated, turn off the classroom lights (or do something else that is trivial, but was obviously your action). Then say to the students, "I know some of you think I turned out the light, but I didn't do it. I think someone walking by must have done it. I would never do that." Allow the students to respond to your obvious dishonesty and lack of personal responsibility. Then ask them what they observed about your behavior and its effects (i.e., shifted the blame, denied responsibility, lost some respect, not honest, etc.).

  • Tell the students that they will work in groups (of four or five) to act out familiar scenarios in honest and dishonest ways. Each group will get a scenario to act out. Hand out (randomly) the scenario cards. (See Attachment One: Scenario Cards.) Each group prepares to act out the scenario in two ways: First they will act out the scenario without regard to rules or honest behavior. The scenario will show how the inappropriate behavior affects the common good. The second role-play will enact following the rules appropriately and taking personal responsibility for honesty and the common good. Encourage the students to refer to the vocabulary from the previous lesson as they explore positive applications of the scenario. The groups will involve each student in the role-plays. Give the groups about five minutes to prepare for their brief role-plays.
  • Each group acts out their two interpretations. After a role-play, the group remains in the front of the class for a minute to answer questions and discuss the effects of the different behaviors. Ask the rest of the class what the role-play of the scenario communicated about responsibility, honesty, and the common good. Repeat for each group.
  • The remaining groups may finish their dramas in the following class period.

 Lesson adapted from Learning to Give lesson "I Feel Angry or Sad When ...."

Bibliographical References:

Learning to Give Lesson: "I Feel Angry or Sad When ..." http://www.learningtogive.org/lessons/unit155/lesson5.html

Lesson Developed By:

Betsy Flikkema
Associate Director
Learning to Give

Barbara Dillbeck
Learning to Give


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Scenario Cards

Science teacher has asked students not to touch the microscopes.

A friend tells another friend a secret and asks the friend not to repeat it.

Teacher dismisses two students to go to the media center to get a book.

A new student is looking for a place to sit down in the lunchroom or cafetorium.

Students sitting in a circle listening to others share.

Students are playing chess or a board game or card game.

One friend wants to ride bikes to the soccer field. Another friend wants to walk.

Student notices another student has food caught in his/her teeth.

Students approach two people who are talking.

A student invites a friend to do something the friend knows his or her parents do not allow.


Philanthropy Framework:

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