The middle grades are a time of great social, emotional, and developmental turbulence. Between academic pressures, a constantly evolving social landscape, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, middle school students are faced with ethical challenges that can even give adults pause. As a result, the need for ethics education is now more important than ever. Ethics and ethical decision-making are crucial components of adolescent growth, and with the right resources, educators give students the language and tools necessary to distinguish between right and wrong.
MBA Research and Curriculum Center is here to help do just that. Established in 1971, we are a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting educators in the preparation of students for careers in business and marketing. Through the generous support of the Daniels Fund, a foundation in Colorado supporting principle-based ethics education, we are also developing free materials for teaching ethics and ethical decision-making appropriate for all programs and subject areas as part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Middle School Program.
We are thrilled to share that our development of middle level ethics education materials is almost complete! This summer, 10 instructional modules will be made available to middle level educators at no cost, thanks to the generosity of the Daniels Fund. Developed with the help of AMLE and a middle school advisory network, these modules are comprehensive, ready-to-use lesson plans that integrate social-emotional learning geared for middle school students. Modules include student narratives, ethical dilemmas, discussion prompts, reflections, activities, and more. Topics covered in these modules include the following:
- The Nature of Ethics
- Rule of Law
- Responding to Ethical Dilemmas
Educators may choose to use these lesson modules individually or together as a coordinated instructional series. The modules are ideal for classroom use, but they are also appropriate for alternative settings, such as in homeroom, advisory periods, or student organizations. Ready to bring ethics to your students?
As part of our work with the Daniels Fund, MBA Research has also developed a multitude of ethics education materials for high school students that are accessible for students in the middle grades. These resources have so far reached over 2 million students and include the following:
- Learning Activity Packages (LAPs): LAPs are comprehensive, ready-to-use lesson plans designed to help make your preparation easy, fast, and relevant. We currently offer over 70 LAPs with ethics-related content. Each complete LAP module includes a student handout as well as an instructor section featuring a comprehensive discussion guide, multiple assessment options with descriptive keys, student activities, and more.
- Ethics Boot Camp: Ten hours of fun, engaging ethics activities that can be used with students in a variety of settings. This resource introduces students to principle-based ethics, ethical decision-making, and recognizing ethical dilemmas, and it includes suggestions for use.
- Ethics Books & Movies for High School Students: This annotated list recommends resources to help teach students—including those at the middle level—about ethical decision-making and includes suggestions for use, content summaries, corresponding ethical principles, and select guides for instruction.
- Gray Zone Series: A new series of video-based interactive activities for students and teachers. Each episode begins with an ethical dilemma and then uses “choose your own adventure” style gameplay to give students the opportunity to work through the dilemmas themselves. Additional discussion questions are included with each episode.
- Ethical Principles Video Series: Each 10- to 15-minute video takes a deep dive into an ethical principle, giving students an understanding of what the principle means, its supporting traits, how it plays out in real-world examples, and how they themselves can use it in their own lives. Six videos are currently available, and the final two are in development.
Ethical decision-making can be hard, but bringing principle-based ethics into the classroom doesn’t have to be. As you anticipate our new middle school materials, you can access the above list of ethics resources on our website. With these new materials, your impact on ethics education in middle schools across the nation would be immeasurable. Thank you for all that you do!