Looking at Students' Conceptual
Development in the Fairness Ideal
Throughout the Fairness Module you will have been
paying attention to students' thinking and noticing changes in that
thinking. Through the routines students will be developing their
skills in thinking through issues of fairness. At the same time,
students are developing a deeper and richer conception of fairness
and what is involved. Each of the following closing activities provides
an opportunity to learn what students have gotten out of the module
and how their thinking has changed.
While the issue of fairness is always going to
be present in classrooms, you may want to conclude the Fairness
Module with the opportunity for students to reflect on the topic
and what they have learned. Some strategies for doing this include:
- Students complete a concept
map of fairness as they did at the beginning.
Once they have their new maps completed, you can hand back their earlier maps and ask them to write or talk about how their ideas about fairness and how their understanding about Fairness has developed and changed
- Students write a letter of advice to a younger
child explaining what fairness is and how one goes about figuring
out fairness. The letter should offer practical advice that the
reader can use and carry with them into many future situations.
- Students make a visual representation of
fairness and write an explanation explaining the various aspects
of their visual metaphor.
- Students write a story of fairness that highlights
a particular problem related to fairness and how it was resolved.
Assessing Conceptual Change
Looking at students' pre and post-concept maps
can be very useful in assessing student growth and change. As you
look at students' maps, you may find it helpful to look for the
- What new strategies for figuring out fair
do students list? Have they incorporated the key thinking moves
from the map? Are they using their own language for these moves?
Are they elaborating upon them?
- Do students show a greater awareness of the
complexity of figuring out what is fair and unfair? Do students
show a sensitivity to the role of context, culture, and values?
- How have students' questions about fairness
- Are students' responses more elaborated,
fleshed out, and/or connected to other parts of their thinking?
Here are three examples of students' concept maps
that might be useful in thinking about conceptual
Grade Three Student