Refusing to Budge

6, 7, 8

Students participate in a role-play of fair and unfair decision-making. They identify behaviors that promote and create barriers to making decisions. After a read-aloud, students compare the lesson in the text to real-life situations.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • participate in a role-play or discuss the behaviors in a role-play.
  • compare and contrast fair and not-fair behaviors.
  • brainstorm behaviors that promote fair decision-making.
  • respond to a read-aloud of "The Zax" (See Bibliographical References).

Read-aloud copy of the short story "The Zax" in the book The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss 

  • Seuss, Dr. The Sneetches and Other Stories. Random House, 1961. ISBN: 978-0394800899



  1. Anticipatory Set

    Enlist the help of a group of four students. Tell them they are going to role-play a scenario in front of the class. The scenario is that they are a group of friends trying to decide on a movie to attend together. Taking on their roles, they must decide the show, the time, and how they will get there (in front of the rest of the class). Tell two of the four students that their role is to try to be fair in everything they do and say. Tell the other two students that their role is to not play fair; they act in their own interest, create barriers [something that gets in the way and separates], and refuse to compromise [to come to agreement with both sides giving a little].

  2. After the scenario, have the whole class discuss how well the decision process went and how the different actors responded to the attitudes and progress [amount of forward movement].

  3. Brainstorm a comparison between fair and not fair in a conflict situation [a competitive interaction between two people of different viewpoints] by having the students identify which actors were fair and what that behavior looked like. Have the students identify which actors were not fair and what that behavior looked like. Write the words Not Fair and Fair on opposite sides of a T-chart on the board. Have the learners brainstorm words to fill in the chart in the context of a conflict situation. Students may come up with words such as open-minded [willing to listen to opposing side], refusing to budge, listening, respect, taking advantage of, intolerance [unwilling to allow another point of view], and blindness to other perspective.

  4. Read aloud the story "The Zax," which is the second story in the Dr. Seuss book The Sneetches. (See Bibliographical References.)

  5. Before reading, ask the students to listen for ways the Zax behavior is like the students were unfair in the role-play scenario. After reading, have the students describe the Zax behavior after they bumped into each other. Ask them how not budging in a conflict harmed the Zax themselves. Encourage the students to think of real-life examples of people (or countries) not budging and discuss what resulted from the conflict.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.9 Identify pro-social behavior in different cultures and traditions.