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


Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 40 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • For Fairness Game. Board games such as Monopoly (C), Hi Ho Cherry-o (C), and Jenga (C), and several decks of playing cards; (optional) miscellaneous game pieces, such as playing cards, tokens, dice, timekeeping devices, and spinners
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Chalice, candle and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • Group covenant (Workshop 1)
  • Optional: Bicycle Rack newsprint sheet (Workshop 1)
  • Optional: Faith in Action: Designing a Fairness Game
  • Optional: Alternate Activity 1, Real Life Challenges

Preparation for Activity

  • The Fairness Game requires the first 25 minutes of this 40-minute Opening. If you have an extra 15 minutes, you might like to use the Faith in Action activity, Designing a Fairness Game, instead of this version of the Fairness Game.
  • Read Alternate Activity 1, Real Life Challenges. Prepare to incorporate it into this Opening, if you think you will have time and you observe that youth want to discuss challenges shared in their check-in.
  • Post the chalice lighting words.
  • Post the group covenant.
  • Post the Bicycle Rack sheet the group began in Workshop 1, Opening, or label a new sheet of newsprint "Bicycle Rack," and post.

Description of Activity

Youth experience and discuss the presence of fairness in games, then open the workshop.

Tell the group that because they have worked so hard in previous workshops, today they have earned free time. Say you would like them to spend the time together as a group or at least in teams. Invite them to form teams and play any of the board games or a game with the playing cards. You and your co-leader can join. Let play continue as long as possible, at least 15 minutes. At the end of your time, ask each game team to declare a winner.

Invite the winners to sit in front of the group. Ask what enabled them to win: Chance? Skill? Previous experience with the game? Determination? Intelligence? Ask if the game was fair. If not, why was it not fair?

If the game involved chance (such as a card game or a game with dice or spinners), ask if chance is fair. If chance is not fair, does it at least attempt to "level the playing field?"

Say that being fair sounds easy, but it often is not. People come to the game with different skills and gifts. Some have good fine motor skills. Others are good at thinking and planning ahead. It is hard to design any experience that is fair in that it enables everyone to use their own abilities to compete evenly with everyone else.

Ask for any observations from the group about games and fairness.

Now, gather the group for the workshop Opening. Invite a volunteer to light the chalice while you lead the group to recite the chalice lighting words:

The thought manifests as the word

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings...

As the shadow follows the body,

As we think, so we become.

- from The Dhammapada, Sayings of the Buddha

Invite the youth to check in by sharing any moral challenges they have experienced since the last meeting. If appropriate, use Alternate Activity 1 to further explore the group's challenges. If youth appear interested in discussing a particular challenge but you feel there is not enough time in this meeting, ask the person who shared it to write a short description of the challenge on the Bicycle Rack.