Imagine this dilemma:
Frank Quince readily admits he’s no star student, but he’s not alone in thinking Mr. Simpson’s algebra class is way too hard. Frank’s mom and most of his fellow students agree, and even Brianna McKey — who is a star student — admits that she actually has to study for tests. To make things worse, Mr. Simpson isn’t very friendly when students ask him questions after class.
Given that situation, Frank is pleasantly surprised, even shocked, to see a B+ in algebra on his midterm progress report. But then he checks all his quiz scores and realizes Mr. Simpson has made a mistake. At least, Frank thinks he has. (Remember, he isn’t a star student.)
Frank wonders if he should report the error to Mr. Simpson and take the C- he deserves, but his friends tell him not to. After all, they say, he hasn’t done anything wrong.
What should Frank do?
For discussion with your Scouts:
Read the dilemma aloud to your Scouts, Venturers or family members, and challenge the group to think of five reasons Frank should report the error and five reasons he should not. (If you have a large enough group, form a “yes” team and a “no” team.)
Discuss the 10 reasons the group came up with and ask participants to justify each.
Next, discuss these questions if they haven’t already come up:
- Frank didn’t cheat to get the B+. Is he cheating if he doesn’t report the error? Why or why not?
- Frank isn’t 100% sure what grade he should have gotten. Does that make a difference? Why or why not?
- Does it matter that this is just a midterm grade? Why or why not? (After all, Mr. Simpson might well catch the error when calculating final grades.)
- Would it make a difference if getting a B+ earned Frank a spot on the honor roll? What about a reward from his parents? Why or why not?
- Does it matter that everybody agrees the class is way too hard? Why or why not?
- Does it matter that Mr. Simpson isn’t very friendly when students ask him questions after class? Why or why not? (After all, Mr. Simpson might shut Frank down if he tried to report the error.)
Next, decide as a group what, if anything, Frank should do. If the group thinks he should do something, role-play what might happen.
What do you think?