Overview of the Fairness Ideal


The Fairness module helps students develop understanding and appreciation of the complexities of involved in figuring out issues of fairness. Specifically, the Fairness module aims to:

  • Increase students' awareness of the daily moral issues that they face.
  • Create a habit of being thoughtful about many of these issues.
  • Teach students how to navigate through situations of confusion, doubt and conflict.  
  • Engage students in reflection and communication that fosters different thinking skills involved in the solution of moral and ethical issues.
  • Develop students' sensitivity to issues of fairness so that they recognize them even in situations that don't feel highly charged.


As in all the modules, the module for fairness makes extensive use of learning routines that are thinking rich. These routines are simple structures, a set of questions or a short sequence of steps, that can be used across various grade levels and content. The routines become the ways in which students go about the process of learning. Routines are always used for a purpose and not merely to practice the routine. Routines for any one module are not exclusive to that particular module. There are perspective-taking routines in both the Understanding and the Fairness Module, for example. In addition, some routines work well across all modules. Think-Pair-Share and “What makes you say that?” are good examples of such routines. The five routines for this module are:

  • *Circle of Viewpoints: A routine for identifying and exploring diverse perspectives
  • Here Now, There Then: A routine for examining shifts and changes in attitudes and judgments over time
  • Making it Fair: Now, Then, Later: A routine for identifying actions to make a situation more fair
  • Reporter's Notebook: A routine for identifying fact and feeling in a situation.
  • *Tug of War: A routine for exploring the complexity of dilemmas.
* Consider starting with one of these routines

Each of these routines is explained in Fairness Routines section.

Other Activities

Because the Fairness Module is an inquiry into students' thinking as much as it is an instructional program, the module includes several activities for probing students thinking. These are often done at the beginning of the module as a way of Introducing the Ideal . Other activities involve students in reflecting on what they have been learning and can be found in the Working with Ideals section. Finally, wrap up and post-measures of students' thinking are included in the Looking at Students' Conceptual Development section.