Playing by the Rules

6, 7, 8

Learners explore the meaning of playing by the rules and making personal choices that support the common good. They discuss how people could respond with honesty and dishonesty to the same situation. 

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • describe experiences in which they have the choice to act with honesty and play by the rules.
  • describe actions relating to honest communication and personal responsibility.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Discuss the effect of honestly "playing by the rules" and considering the impact of one's personal actions on the common good. For example, what if everyone in a group could depend on everyone else to do what they said they'd do? Conversely, what is the effect of saying you have completed your [section of an] assignment when you have not? Write a definition of the common good (for the benefit of all) related to rules and trust.

  2. Writing in a journal, learners complete this sentence: "When I am not honest or don't play by the rules about something important (at home, school, or with my friends), I am afraid that ___________." The response may be related to a consequence, how they feel, how it affects the common good, or what they wish would happen.

  3. Discuss how following through and playing by the rules are examples of honesty. Honesty in behavior includes playing by the rules, doing what you are responsible for, and not cheating. Honesty also includes accepting responsibility for one's choices. Discuss ways people honestly accept responsibility for their actions (apologize, admit mistakes, fix the problem). Discuss ways people act when they don't accept responsibility for actions (blame, remain silent, get angry).

  4. Each learner draws a line down the middle of a paper. They each choose one of the ideas discussed. On one side of the line, they write an example of following by the rules and its effect. On the other half, they write the effects of not taking personal responsibility for the rules and shared expectations. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. 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.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify civil society organizations that protect and speak for minority viewpoints.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.