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The red light, green light process for making ethical decisions


Students will learn about the Red Light, Green Light approach, which is a positive way to examine ethics. Students will take notes on the slideshow. Students will apply this approach to two scenarios while in groups during the slideshow.


  • Students will learn an approach to examine ethical situations.
  • Students will practice the approach in groups while using real-world scenarios.
  • Students will analyze, explain and defend their position in their ethical decision.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Red light, green light ethics

Lesson step-by-step

1. Journal — 5 minutes

What does the following mean: “There’s no such thing as bad press”? Could you come up with an example?

2. Slideshow presentation — 30 minutes

During the slideshow, students should take notes by putting a line down the middle of their paper in half (hot-dog bun style). Students should take notes on the Red Light ethical approach on the left side. On the right-hand side, students should take notes on the Green Light ethical approach.

3. Pop quiz

Using your notes, write down three comparisons between green light and red light ethics.

(Teachers: Answers are on the slideshow. If desired, you could give two points for each valid comparison.)