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.

Closing Activities

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 following:

  • 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 changed?
  • 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 development

Grade Three Student

Grade Five Student

Grade Twelve Student