What Is Honesty?

6, 7, 8

Learners dissect the trait of honesty by describing what it feels and looks like, defining it, and giving examples and nonexamples.

PrintOne 20-minute class period

The learner will:

  • define honesty from the dictionary and give examples and synonyms.
  • reflect on the value of honesty.
  • chart paper for brainstorming (save for next lesson)
  • copy of handout Honesty Dissection for each group of four
Home Connection 

Discuss with family members why it is important to them (and the community) that people are honest.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review the definition of honesty. Ask the learners to hold up two, three, or four fingers to show how honest they rate people and institutions you name. One finger is the least honest, and four fingers is the most honest. How honest do you think your teachers are? Middle school students in general? A major corporation, such as BP? Your parents? The local weather reporter? Politicians in general?

  2. Move the learners into groups of four and give them a copy of the handout so they can analyze the concept of honesty. Each group discusses and writes what it means to be honest, including examples and nonexamples. Have each group select a representative who will report the group's discussion to the rest of the class.

  3. Have each group report to the whole class the examples and descriptions of honesty. Keep a list on a chart of words and descriptions from the group discussions (reliable, integrity, trustworthy, good reputation, not deceiving, doing the right thing, doing what you say you'll do, keeping promises, etc.). Add to the chart over the next three class periods.

  4. In the next class period, they will explore ways the trait of honesty has value to self and community. Encourage them to think about this and discuss with their families, asking the question, "Why is it important to you that people are honest?"

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 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.