Stage Three Topics

Year 5 and Year 6 students (ages 10-12)

Voting – an ethical issue?

Students will explore what issues determine how we vote in school and government elections – and whether we should vote solely on the basis of self-interest.

Punishment

Students will examine issues around punishment, leading to the final question, ‘Can punishment be fair?’

Being Vain

Students are encouraged to think about what it is to be vain and what, if anything is wrong with being vain.

Structure of Arguments

Students will examine all aspects of arguments including premises, hidden premises, conclusions and what makes good and bad arguments.

How far does our moral responsibility extend?

Using age-appropriate scenarios, students will examine the issue of how far moral responsibility should or does extend.

Stealing is illegal. Is it also morally wrong?

Through discussion of various scenarios, students will consider whether stealing is morally wrong in all circumstances.

Jumping to conclusions

Students are encouraged to think about the logic of moral arguments, and more particularly, about the logical rules governing the use of sentences beginning with ‘All’ and ‘Only’, and to identify situations in which reasoning with such sentences goes wrong.

Homelessness

Do we, as individuals and as a society, have a responsibility to help those who are homeless?

Killing animals for food: Is it morally right to eat animals?

Using the yes/no/don’t know approach, students will state their initial opinions and reasons, which will be followed by whole class evaluation of the arguments.

Spirits, rhino horns, big bangs and genes: Why should we trust science?

Students will examine false beliefs that matter and the use of theories (everyday and scientific) as explanations. They will then look at the issues of choosing between competing theories.

Fairness: treating people equally or unequally?

Is it fair to treat people (or groups of people) equally? Why or why not? Is it ever fair to treat people (or groups) unequally? Why or why not?

A fair society

Students will use The Outsiders story to consider issues of fairness in society.

Human Rights: do other animals have them?

Human rights: where do rights come from and how are they justified? What obligations do they impose on governments and individuals? To what extent, if any, should human rights be extended to other living creatures?

Fatalism

Are our futures and fates fixed? Does what we do today have any effect on what happens in the future?

Beliefs, Opinions, Tolerance and Respect

What does it mean to respect another person’s beliefs or opinions? Should we always respect the beliefs of others? To what extent should we be tolerant of moral difference?

Moral responsibility

To what extent can we be held morally responsible for our actions? What might it mean for society if it turned out that even our conscious decisions were determined in advance?

Appeal to Authority

To what extent do we still appeal unquestioningly to authorities in our everyday lives? What are the consequences of thinking and acting for one’s self? Students will look at examples of groups that have refused to follow blindly.

Teasing

What’s the difference between harmless and harmful teasing? Is teasing ever OK?

Drugs in Sport

Performance enhancing drugs are banned in all sports. Students will discuss the concept of unfair advantage and whether the taking of performance enhancing drugs is morally wrong.

Should we take circumstances into account?

This topic encourages students to consider the idea that when making moral judgments it is important to take circumstances into account.

Are some things just wrong?

Different cultures have different moral codes. What underlies these differences and is there an independent way to judge the moral values of other cultures?

Thinking

The nature of knowledge. How do you know what you know? Recognising faulty reasoning and articulating how such reasoning has gone wrong, employing criteria to make distinctions and thinking about your own thinking.