Are All Lies the Same?
In this lesson, students discuss different types of lies and rate them in their severity and damage to others.
The learner will:
- discuss whether leaving out information is dishonest.
- rate the severity of different types of "lies."
- discuss and come to consensus on the most damaging "lies" and list damaging examples of "lies."
Say to the learners, "Imagine you had plans with a friend to get together tonight. The friend approached you at lunch and said, "I can't go with you tonight." Then the friend walked away quickly. What are your immediate questions you would like to ask your friend?" Discuss student responses, encouraging a variety of possible reasons for the lack of information provided by the friend. Then ask the students if the friend lied to you. Discuss whether withholding information is honest.
Define honesty as "fairness and straightforwardness in conduct."
Tell the students that there are several types of "lies."These types of lies do not all have the same level of dishonesty to them. Read aloud the list of twelve types of lies below. Tell the students they are going to rate these types of lies by standing on a line. Use a piece of tape or draw an imaginary line across the room and indicate which end of the line is one (least harmful type of honesty) and which end of the line is ten (the worst example of dishonesty). Tell them they will show their personal rating by standing somewhere on the line after you read a type of lie. They should be honest about personal impressions and be ready to discuss why they rated the lie as they did.
Readone type of lie, have all the students place themselves on the line to rate the lie (from least to most dishonest or damaging), and then discuss the students' ratings by asking why they rated it the way they did. Repeat for each type of lie. The most discussion will arise when students stand in different places on the line.
- bold-faced lie (telling a lie that everyone can see, e.g., the crumbs are on your face)
- bluffing (such as in a card game)
- polite lie (to avoid hurting a friend e.g., nice haircut)
- temporary lie (surprise party)
- lying to avoid punishment
- omission (leaving out information with the purpose of misleading)
- telling a story/repeating information you aren't sure is true
- perjury (lying in court or sworn statement)
- sarcasm or tall tale (using untruth to express truth)
- advertisers lying about products
- harmful lies that help no one
After rating all the lies, discuss student impressions of the activity. Ask the class, "Was there whole class consensus on the worst two and the least harmful two?" and "Why do we have the same or different responses on some of these?"
This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to generationon.org.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.