Being able to develop friendships in elementary school is as important as learning to add and subtract. Students need to learn the importance of getting along with other human beings, no matter their gender, race, or age. Learning to act fairly is a key to getting along with others. It is important for children to realize that learning to get along with people is essential to living in our complex social system. Children should feel that they are an important part of society along with everyone else. All people are important and we will enrich our own lives by learning to appreciate others and treat them fairly.



The goal of this unit is to teach students about the importance of fairness. Friends need to learn how to get along with classmates, parents, family members, older children, and members of the community. Children need to realize the importance of treating all people with fairness.

  • Students will be able to define fairness.
  • After the students are told about hypothetical situations, they will be able to identify ways the people in the situations were fair or unfair by role playing and verbally responding as audience members.
  • Students will be able to verbally list ways they can be fair to others.
  • Students will keep track of fairness they see in our classroom by recording incidents on our "Fairness & Friendship Tree".
  • Students will learn which traits are positive and necessary for success in the classroom and in their social activities.
  • Students will learn cooperating skills necessary to be a productive member of the community.

Second grade is a time to share and learn through creative experiences. The concepts in the fairness unit need to be tied to the child's background knowledge. By introducing concepts through stories and allowing the participation in activities considered to be fun, students will integrate the concepts into their knowledge base and put them to use in their daily lives.



To start being fair, we knew that we needed to evaluate what the students knew about fairness and what they needed and wanted to learn. Here are some examples of what we did to start it off:

  • Brainstorm as a class about what fairness means
  • Create a fairness tree with students' pictures to show that this will be a fair class
  • Discuss diversity and how we should be respectful and fair to all people



Now that a foundation on fairness is established, we can develop their understanding on fairness through the following activities:

  • Role-play situations dealing with fairness and equality. If possible video tape these situations and view them as a class, going over the elements of fairness involved
  • Read literature as a class or individually on fairness and discuss outcomes
  • Involve the community by inviting police officers, coaches, school counselor, etc. to talk about how fairness has helped them in their job and how it creates a better environment
  • Create situations that can be asked in class. Have students come up with possible "fair" outcomes
  • On chart paper, students can keep track of fair acts that they notice at home, school, and throughout the community



This is a list of different procedures to evaluate their learning throughout this unit.

  • In cooperative groups, have them come up with a list of the five most important things they learned about fairness throughout this unit. Then as a class, discuss each group's list. Make a class list of the five most important things from their group lists and encourage them to remember the "fair five".
  • Have the class come up with a moto on fairness.
  • Ask students in one-on-one meetings to evaluate themselves on whether or not they have been fair.




Students will recognize and develop uses of math skills and concepts in science.



Squares of white paper

Hand-held mirror for each group of students

Crayons, markers, and any other coloring utensils desired

Two long pieces of butcher paper, drawn into a grid/chart



Read the book People by Peter Spier. Then discuss how every single person is unique and individual. Look into a mirror and tell the children that you are going to draw a picture of yourself - making sure skin color, hair color and length, and eye color are accurate. Next have them draw portraits of themselves making sure colors are accurate.

Once they have completed their drawings, tell the students you want them to sort the pictures into different groups. Brainstorm and list on the board different categories and then select one. Label the columns of the grid. Have the students line up and place their picture in the right section on the grid paper. Have the children add up how many are in each group and write the number at the bottom of the column. Do a little addition to find the total number of students in the class!



Have the students explain what they discovered as they grouped and charted their results. Have children discuss their strategies and discoveries. Teacher may need to ask questions that will help them to better understand that there are many ways to "group" items.



Explain to the children that they classified/sorted and graphed. Discuss "more than", "less than" and "equal to".



Tell the children that there are differences in the world that we deal with everyday. Explain that we can classify many things according to different criteria.



Have the children place these self-portraits on the "Fairness and Friendship Tree".

For more information on "Character Counts" education, click here:

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