Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

November 12, 2010

Social Justice Lessons and the 7th Commandment

Ask students to name the Ten Commandments and more than likely after “thou shall not kill” they will remember “thou shall not steal.” It is an important commandment that has broad implications in both one’s personal life as well as society at large.

“The Seventh Commandment rests on the foundation of justice. Justice requires that God’s gifts of food, clothing, and shelter are meant for each of God’s children and that it is wrong for one person to have an abundance while another lacks what is needed to live in accordance with human dignity” (Eileen Flynn, The Ten Commandments: Case Studies in Catholic Morality, p. 93).

Consider discussing the following case studies with students:

Pose these issues to the students and have them discuss/debate the various perspectives. Ask a few students to play “Devil’s Advocate” and argue for the unjust side (some of them may volunteer to do this).

For the debates on these issues you might consider the following:


Ball Toss Debate: Divide the class into two sides. Explain that only the person with the ball may speak during the debate. When the person holding the ball has made their argument, they must throw it to a person on the opposing side who is raising their hand. If no one on the opposing side has anything to say, they may throw it to another student on their side.

Fishbowl Discussion: Have a group of five to six students sit in the front of the room in a semi-circle facing the rest of the class (the shape could resemble a fishbowl). These students should have a debate/discussion about the topics.

Discussion Board: Consider making the debate a homework assignment. Require that students post new comments or respond to comments at least three times. If you use a course management system like Moodle, you can host it there. Otherwise consider using website such as Wikispaces, Wallwisher, Edmodo, Google Docs, or Stixy.

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