Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Alternate Activity 2: Tug of War

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the scenario presented in Leader Resource 2. If needed, adapt the numbers so this activity will work with your group. Print the Leader Resource-one copy for you, one for a volunteer reader.
  • Set up an open space where the group can safely play tug-of-war.

Description of Activity

Tell the group:

Sometimes it does not matter what is fair, but how much pull you have.

Ask the youth to name experiences they have had where "pull" mattered. Keep their examples in mind as possible scenarios to use if you decide to play tug of war more than once.

Invite the group to explore how "pull" ("influence") works by playing a game of tug of war. Ask for a volunteer to read a scenario aloud. Tell the group that by the end of this activity, everyone will have a role.

Have the volunteer read the scenario from Leader Resource 2, The Tee Shirt Pull. As each character is introduced, identify the required number of volunteer to join the tug of war on the appropriate side of the rope.

After the game, ask how a game of tug of war can be made more balanced and fair. Does evening the numbers make for a fair competition? Tell the group that this dilemma really happened and it played out in a similar fashion.

Whom were participants cheering for in the game? Did they feel their side won? Was the winning fair? Have there been times that winning is so important that you don't care whether it is fair or not? Talk more about these situations. Distinguish the different values that are clashing. Acknowledge that though being fair is extremely important, there may be times that other values may be more important.

If time permits, play again with a scenario suggested by youth.