Fair or unfair?

About this Collection

What do I want to find out?

What pupils understand by the term ‘fair’ and how developed their understanding of justice is. Do they think injustice is inevitable?

What do I need?

  • An opinion scale:
very unfair unfair neither fair very fair
  • Cards with a selection of the following statements, one statement per card:
Prizes are given to the children who work hardest The teachers spends an equal amount of time with each child Rich people have bigger carbon footprints Many children work on cocoa plantations as slaves
Prizes are given to the children who run fastest All the money in the world is shared out equally Rich people can pay for better health care Children working on cocoa plantations have never tasted chocolate
Prizes are given to the children who are cleverest Children bring all their toys to school. These are then shared out equally The Chief Executive of Nestle earns £8 million per year In Britain we eat on average 11 kg of chocolate each year.
All children get the same grade for their work Some people are luckier than others Life expectancy in Ghana is 64 years and 80 years in the UK Many cocoa plantation workers earn less than 6p per hour
Some poor people work harder than some rich people

What do I do?
Timing: 10 minutes plus discussion

  • With pupils in groups, ask them to place the statements you have chosen on the opinion scale.
  • Listen carefully to their discussion and justification for their choices.
  • Take photos to record where they have placed each statement.

How do I analyse the results?

  • Looking at the photos, use the following to give each statement a score: very unfair (1), quite unfair (2), nether fair nor unfair (3), quite fair (4), very fair (5).
  • Do pupils’ discussions and justifications correspond to where they agree to place the statements?
  • To what extent is there a difference between how pupils respond to more and less familiar situations? Which statements have the highest and lowest scores? Do any patterns emerge?

How do I measure the change?

  • Repeat the activity using a different selection of statements. Compare the Do pupils’ responses suggest they think ‘fair’ means the same as ‘equal’?
  • Look for evidence that pupils are more comfortable with the concepts and language of “rights” and “justice”.
  • Are pupils now more prepared to express ideas about how unfairness can be reduced?
  • To what extent do they show a willingness to take action, or do their responses suggest they believe injustice to be inevitable?