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Alternate Activity 3: Ethics GPS
Activity time: 10 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Decide whether to do this activity in a full group or in smaller groups.
Description of Activity
Ask participants to imagine what an ethics GPS would be like and then to demonstrate how it would work.
Begin by asking whether participants are familiar with GPS, or the Global Positioning System. (Be assured that many youth will have tried GPS in school and summer programs, if not at home or in family cars.) Explain, if participants do not, that GPS uses satellites to track things on Earth: to show where they are, what speed they are traveling, and what direction they are moving. If you have GPS in your car, you tell it where you want to go by keyboarding an address or a telephone number, or, in some cases, by speaking aloud to it. The system then tells you how to get to your destination. A voice gives instructions as you drive, saying things like this: "At the next intersection turn left."
Continue by asking what an ethics GPS system would be like. Could it help people make the right choices and stay on a virtuous path?
Let the group propose its answers as a full group, if you like. Or, if the group is large, divide it into smaller groups and let each come up with answers to compare at the end of the activity.
Use a few questions like these to get things started: What sort of destination would people want to reach? Who would decide how people should move, and what they should do? What would the ethical decisions be based on?
Ask for volunteers from each small group or from the full group to act out the way their ideas would work. One youth might describe an ethical destination, say, reaching a decision about a specific problem, such as whether to steal bread to feed a hungry child. Another youth could give GPS directions in a computer-like voice. A script might begin like this:
DECISION-MAKER: How do I reach a decision?
GPS: Ask your parent for advice.
DECISION-MAKER: My parent is not home. (Or did not have an answer.) Where do I go next?
Here are some possibilities to offer if discussion is slow to begin: For a destination, some people might select heaven; others might select a happy life or a specific work goal. People who could decide how people should move might include judges, religious leaders, or teachers. The ethical decisions could be based on the law or the Bible or some other set of rules.