“Honesty is the Best Policy” – George Washington
John A. Carusi Middle School

Students will be required to brainstorm the meaning of the word “lying” and will discuss situational problem associated with lying. The students will survey themselves and determine if they feel as though they are honest people. Students will respond to honesty questions as a whole group and work in small groups to examine scenarios in order to explain the main conflict and how honesty can be used to solve problems. The goal of this lesson is to have the students reflect upon the importance of honesty and the consequences of lying. The students should be encouraged to speak freely to promote social interactions within the classroom.

Students will recognize the importance of honesty in their daily interactions with peers, parents, and teachers.
Students will identify how honesty cultivates trusting relationships and the consequences of lying.
Students will have the opportunity to examine their sincerity, loyalty, and integrity within themselves and evaluate if they are honest people.
Students will interact in a socially productive environment.
Chart paper
Popsicle sticks
Index cards
Before: Begin by asking the students to identify the meaning of the word lying. (Brainstorming can be done as a whole class or in small groups). Work should be recorded on chart paper to record shifts in understanding or “aha” moments. Ask the students if they have ever been lied to (by someone they care about) and how it made them feel. Ask the students if they have ever told a lie (big or small) and how they dealt with the situation. Did the lie have a “snowball” effect?
Explain to the students that they are going to take a short survey. Explain that this survey is designed to get them thinking about how honest they are in school, home, with friends, playing games, etc. (To ease any anxiety, tell the students they are not required to put their name on the survey).
Take survey.
During: Using popsicle sticks attached to index cards, have the students respond yes or no to the questions by holding up the popsicle stick and attached card. After the students respond, discuss each question as a whole group class discussion.
•Are you honest?
•Would you ever lie? Is lying an honest action?
•Is it ever acceptable to lie?
•Honesty means never bending the truth.
•It is okay to lie sometimes.
•I would lie if it meant I would get out of being in trouble.
•Lying and “white lies” are not the same thing.
•It is acceptable to tell small lies.
•I lie to prevent people from getting hurt.
•Not all lies are bad.
•If a lie is told, the truth eventually comes out.
•All people lie sometimes.
Group work: Break students into five small groups. Assign one of the following questions to each of the groups. Group members will work together to answer the assigned question. On the chart paper have the students explain the main conflict and how honesty can be used to solve the problem.
•You walked into your science classroom and realized that you had not studied for a big test. If you fail this test, your grade will be significantly impacted. Your best friend is sitting in the desk next to you. He tells you that you can look off his paper during the test so you don’t fail. Would you cheat off your friend or risk failing the test? Explain your thinking.
•A student in the hallway has just dropped a twenty-dollar bill. You would like to go to the movies tonight with your friends! This money would pay for the cost and you might even be able to buy some extra snacks. Would you tell the student they dropped the money or take the money and pretend it was yours all along? Explain your thinking.
•You just got home from school and listened to the messages on your house phone. There is a message from your teacher about your unacceptable behavior in class. You want to go on the planned camping trip with your best friend but you know if your parents hear the message you will be grounded. Would you erase the message and deal with the consequences on Monday or leave the message on the phone? Explain your thinking.
•You are checking out of a store and you realize that the cashier has given you back too much change. You know that your family has been tight on money since your mom lost her job. This would really help the family this week. Do you keep the money and buy extra groceries or tell the cashier that you were given too much change? Explain your thinking.
•You are in the bathroom and you overhear a group of students talking about fighting another student after school. You are concerned about the student’s safety but don’t want to be a tattletale. Do you tell a teacher or staff member about the incident or do you keep the information to yourself and hope for the best? Explain your thinking.
When students are done, have them share with the rest of the class.
After: Revisit chart from the beginning of lesson about lying. As a class, brainstorm all the excuses and rationalizations people give for lying, cheating, and stealing, and then have a discussion about them. How valid are they? Ask the students to consider what’s wrong with each of them and if it’s better to just be honest.
As a whole class, discuss the following questions: What can you do if you get caught in a lie? How should you respond if you are lied to? How do you recover from a lie? Is honesty always the best policy?
To assess if the objectives have been met, have the student complete the writing assignment below. The assignment requires students to reflect upon the importance of honesty and the consequences of lying.
Writing Assignment:•Write about a situation in which you lied about something or were lied to by someone. What was the reason for the lie? Did the lie have a negative effect on your life? What was the outcome of the situation? What did you learn about lying from this experience? Would honesty have been a better solution from the beginning?