Doing What's Right

6, 7, 8

In Lesson Two, students examine the second part of the definition of integrity: doing what's right.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • analyze a scenario where integrity is in question.
  • analyze two scenarios, one about public integrity and one about private integrity.
  • journal about their connections between the scenarios and the quote.
  • Flip chart or board
  • The definition of Integrity on display: Knowing and doing what's right.
  • Student copies of Handout One: Integrity Scenarios
  • Quote on display but hidden until the end of the lesson: "Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." --J.C. Watts


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Read this scenario, then give one or two students an opportunity to respond to each question. (The answers in parentheses are suggested responses and intended only for teacher thinking or probing.)

    Marcus knows that smoking is wrong. Out with his buddies on Saturday night, George lights up a cigarette and offers all of the guys one.(1) If Marcus acts with integrity, what will his choice be?(saying no to the cigarette) (2) If he chooses to abandon his integrity, what are the consequences? (guilt, letting one's self down, fear of parents finding out) (3) If he chooses to maintain his integrity, what are the consequences? (ridicule by guys, name calling, rejection, or possible positive responses--depends on the quality of their friendships)

  2. Teacher: Our defintion of integrity is "knowing and doing what is right." Yesterday, we looked at sources of knowing what's right. Today, we'll look at the "doing what's right" part.

  3. Teacher choice: Either work through Handout One: Integrity Scenarios as a whole class or divide the group into two and provide a scenario to each group. Should you choose the second choice, when the groups report out, they'll need to read the scenario before responding. If you divide the group, then the group would only have access to their assigned scenario.

  4. Distribute copies of Handout One: Integrity Scenarios to the students.

  5. Teacher: Today, we'll be working with two scenarios. The questions within both scenarios focus on knowing and DOING what's right. (Based upon your choice for group arrangements, explain to the students that they will read the scenarios and discuss the questions as a whole class or in their groups.)

  6. Summarize the discussions with the following statement: In both of these situations a choice was present. In the first case, it was a decision made in public with others present. In the second case, it was a decision made in private.

  7. Reveal the quote that was written and hidden before class began:

    "Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught."--J.C. Watts

  8. Ask students to reflect in writing in their journals about the connection between the quote, the two scenarios, and the definition of integrity. Prompt the students with the following question: What do these scenarios and this quote make you think about?

Cross Curriculum 

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

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 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.