Ethical decision to be made: What would you sacrifice in the situations below?

Link to worksheet


At various times in your life you may confront a situation where you may need to sacrifice something for the good of another. Would you do it? Let's look at three cases:

  • Someone needs a kidney: What if you learned someone needed a kidney or they would die? What if they asked directly? Who would you give your kidney to?
  • Your safety: You see a person starting to drown in a lake. Would you jump in to save them? You only have a few seconds to choose.
  • $200: You find out a person needs $200 for something important and not frivolous. Would you give it to them? You were saving the $200 for a new game and wireless earbuds!


Ethical decision-making process:

  • What are the ethical issues? What does not feel right?
  • What are the relevant facts? Is anything missing or distorted?
  • Who are the stakeholders? What are their influence on the situation?
  • What are the situational factors?
  • What are the values in conflict?
  • How do the ethical frameworks apply? Is anyone/any group not acting with virtue? Are any ethical rules being violated? How would the most benefit to the largest number of people be achieved? Should only people be considered?
  • What are possible solutions? What are the consequences? What must be monitored in the future?
  • What was your final solution and justification?


Implement your solution:

  • What would you sacrifice? Complete the table below. Justify your answers.



Would you sacrifice or risk?


a kidney

your safety


























someone you did not know




a child you did not know




an older person you did not know




someone who hurt you










Optional classroom discussion:  

Students can share their answers to the class or in small groups. Students can reflect on their discussion:

  • Does it feel uncomfortable admitting you may not help certain people?
  • If someone in the class disagrees with your responses, what values were in conflict?
  • Did you change your mind after hearing someone else's opinion? Why?
  • If you still disagree with the other person, do you respect them the same? More? Less? Why?


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