For Educators

Dishonesty – Background


At one time or another, everyone has told a lie. Perhaps we’ve exaggerated the truth in an effort to be funny, manipulated small facts of a story to spare someone’s feelings, or created a false scenario in order to surprise a friend or family member. In some cases, a lie might be told with only good intentions in mind; but in others, a lie might be told to hurt someone’s feelings or protect ourselves from punishment. Regardless of the rationale behind a lie, it’s important to ask ourselves: Is dishonesty ever the best policy?

In this lesson, students will examine the pros and cons of honesty and dishonesty. They will consider whether some lies are acceptable and ethical or dishonesty should be avoided at all costs. Students will discover the most common types of lies told among their peers and the reasoning behind them. They will examine “white lies” and determine whether some lies truly are harmless. They will also determine how adults, including their parents and teachers, perceive dishonesty.

Grade Level:

Grades 5-8

Time Allotment:

Four to five 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter:

Character Education, Communication Skills, Ethics, Health, Interpersonal Relationships, Language Arts, Psychology

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Consider the pros and cons of honesty and dishonesty.
  • Examine the reasoning behind lies.
  • Recognize the many areas of their life in which they should exercise honesty.
  • Determine whether certain lies are more acceptable or ethical than others.
  • Distinguish between lies that are generally told by their peers and lies that are told by parents and other adults.


This lesson was prepared by: Erin Audia