BC Social Studies Lesson Plans

Two Views of Justice

Grade 11


Two Views of Justice

Big Idea

Examining questions in philosophy allows people to question their assumptions and better understand their own beliefs (from Philosophy 12).

Essential Question

What is justice?

Learning Standards Content

Students are expected to know the following:

  • fundamental nature of knowledge, existence, and reality (adapted from Philosophy 12)

Curricular Competencies

Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Make reasoned ethical judgments about people, places, events, phenomena, ideas, or developments and determine appropriate ways to respond (ethical judgment)

Core Competencies

I can discuss the major issues around fairness and justice in creating laws for a society.

I can analyze the tensions between two visions of a society and their benefits and deficits.

I can consider the criteria for the concepts of fair, equal, and just in the context of public life.

First People's Principles of Learning

Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).
  • Write the following words on the board: Fairness, Equality, Equity, Entitlement, Justice.
  • Ask: How are these concepts similar? How are they different?

Part 1: Simulation

  • In advance of the simulation, print out “Actual Grades” and “Boosted Grades”. Cut out the marks and place them in 10 white and 10 coloured envelopes.
  • Begin by asking students if they have ever felt like a mark was unfair.
  • Using a Socratic Circle strategy, have ten volunteers sit in an inner circle surrounded by their classmates. 
  • Use the slides “The Grading Game” to guide students through a simulation that will have them consider competing visions of society and their implications for laws and legislation.
  • Lead the simulation using the visuals and instructions provided in the slides.


Part 2: Two Views of Society

  • Using the slides “Two Views of Society”, present and discuss two competing visions of the State.
  • Have them work with a partner to critically analyze the benefits and deficits of these two views of society. Provide students with the handout “PMI Chart”. They should complete one “PMI Chart” for Rawles’s view and one for Nozick’s view.
  • Have students respond in writing to the reflection questions on the handout “Just Society”.

“Comparison of John Rawls And Robert Nozick Politics Essay.” 2018. UKEssays. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/politics/comparison-of-john-rawls-and-robert-nozick-politics-essay.php?vref=1

“Essay: John Rawls and Robert Nozick: Liberalism vs. Libertarianism.” [ca.2011?] Parallel Narratives. https://parallelnarratives.com/john-rawls-and-robert-nozick-liberalism-vs-libertarianism/

Fraser, C. R. 2011. "John Rawls, Robert Nozick, and the Difference Principle: Finding Common Ground." Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse, 3(04). Retrieved from http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/a?id=510

McCartney, S. and Parent, R. [n.d.] “Rawls’ Theory of Justice”. Ethics in Law Enforcement. Chapter 2: Ethical Systems. [Victoria, B.C.]: BCCampus. https://opentextbc.ca/ethicsinlawenforcement/chapter/2-10-rawls-theory-of-justice/

“Rawls vs Nozick.” 1978. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6QvkLCCNN0 [20:30]

“Rawls-v-Nozick: Liberty for All, or Just the Rich?” October 9, 2003. The Sydney Morning Herald.



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Last Reviewed

March 01, 2023

Produced by JES

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