Stage Two Topics

Year 3 and Year 4 students (ages 8-10)

Here are our stage 2 topics – hover over each for a short description, or visit our parents and carers’ information page for more background on each topic.

Being selfish

Students will be encouraged to think for themselves about what it is to be selfish, and what, if anything, makes it wrong to be selfish.

Staring, excuses and reasons

This topic encourages students to think about what counts as staring and what, if anything, makes staring wrong. Students will also learn what distinguishes good from bad reasons.

Disagreeing respectfully about controversial issues

Students will run through a series of exercises to help them think about the issues surrounding disagreeing with others in a respectful manner.

Should we keep animals in captivity?

Students engage in the evaluation of arguments for and against keeping animals in captivity and, in doing so, to extend their intuitive understanding of what makes a good reason.

Bragging (boasting)

An examination of bragging precedes a discussion about whether bragging is the same as lying and whether it is ever right to brag or boast. Examples: school/home/sport/media.

Imagining how others feel

This topic builds on the earlier topic, Empathy, aiming to further develop students’ capacity to understand the feelings of others, including those whose lives are very different from their (and our) own. Our particular focus in this context is on children who are child labourers.

Diversity and tolerance

Using cultural examples, students will identify the differences in underlying factual beliefs and circumstances. Are some actions, such as bullying, morally wrong, even if some people believe they are not?

How should we treat living things?

This topic invites students to think about the idea that it may be wrong to harm living things and why.

Inferring or figuring things out

The act of inferring lies at the heart of ethical reasoning. Students will practice and strengthen this skill through exercises and will begin to understand the assumptions that underlie their inferences.

Breaking a promise

Using personal and societal examples, students will discuss issues around the rights and wrongs of breaking promises.

Thinking about giving

Why do we give? When you give, do you expect to receive something in return? Do we only give gifts to people we like? How do we decide who we should give to, and how much to give?

Being Greedy

Students will discover the difference between wants, preferences and needs and discuss the question, “What do Australians need in order to be happy?” Further discussion will centre on consumerism and ethical shopping.

Is Lying Wrong?

Using examples, students will discuss what makes lying morally wrong and whether lying is wrong under all circumstances. Students will also examine the broader societal effects of lying.

Persuading – or getting someone to do something

Students will examine the difference between persuasion based on reason, emotion, desire, peer pressure and societal expectations. They will then discuss moral issues around dishonest advertising and irrational persuasion.

Being an ethical consumer: palm oil and orang-utans

Using a case study from Borneo, children will examine the issues around being an informed and ethical consumer.

Getting Even

Students are encouraged to think for themselves about when, if ever, getting even is the right thing to do.

Intention: ‘I didn’t mean to do it!’

‘I didn’t mean to do it!’ What do we mean when we say this? Students will examine the relationship between intention and blame.

Puzzles, clues and what follows: Introduction to validity

Students will exercise their intuitive notions of validity and hidden premises by discussing a range of applicable scenarios.

Insides and outsides: Beauty and blindness

What makes someone beautiful? Beauty on the inside vs. beauty on the outside – is one more important than the other?


Can we prove general claims true or false? How reliable is observation?


Students think about what counts as cheating and what, if anything, is wrong with cheating?


Students think about what it is to be ‘friends with’ someone and what it means to be a good friend.