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Humans recognize the vice of injustice from an early age and yearn for justice. A simple example might be a child protesting that a sibling or friend was given a much bigger piece of pie. Similarly, they can read stories or watch movies in which they understand that a character such as Cinderella is being treated unjustly.
In addition, young people can recognize the virtue of justice. They understand that they will be rewarded for virtuous behavior and reprimanded for bad. While watching the Star Wars trilogy, they applaud the valiant struggle of the hero, Luke Skywalker, to defeat the Empire and establish a just galaxy where individuals live free from oppression.
Ask students, What are some commonsense examples of injustice that young people can understand? Name some stories that focus on an injustice and how it is remedied justly.
- Break the students up into groups of four or five. Have them fill out the following continuum of justice or injustice. They will mark a spot on the continuum.
- Ask the students to share their answers and explain why they chose their answers.
- Ask the students to re-write the statements to reflect a change in the hypothetical scenario and decide if they arrive at a different answer. This exercise will help them explore how different circumstances can affect the justice of a decision or action.
This optional introductory activity is designed to support you in the classroom. However, the primary narratives and photos in the section that follows can be used with or without this introduction.