Character Education

Division 3: Grades 7+

Below are discussion questions and activities to foster compassion for animals, people, and the environment. Both the discussion questions and activities are part of the ‘Choose Compassion’ character education theme for the 2018-2019 school year! To see other character building themes, click here!

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some ways you demonstrate you care for others? Animals? The environment? Yourself?
  • How do you feel when you do something caring for someone else? An animal? The environment? How do you feel when someone shows they care about you?
  • Looking at the animals on the poster, what emotions do you think the artist is conveying?
  • What does compassion mean? What are some examples?
  • Do you think you can choose compassion? Explain.
  • Can you think of times where it may be difficult to show compassion? What are some ways to overcome these difficulties?
  • How does compassion impact your school? Local community? Global community?


1. Choose Compassion

Using this template, have students create their own poster or depiction through pictures/stories/poems of what ‘Choose Compassion” means to them.

2. Cartesian Views on Animals

French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650) believed that animals are unconscious machines and therefore lack reason, intelligence and cannot feel pain or emotion. In Descartes’ view, animals would not require protection because they are incapable of feeling pain.

What do you think of René Descartes’ views on animals? What do we now know that would challenge his views? What systems do we have in place to protect animals? (animal protection laws, organizations, education). Write a persuasive letter to Descartes to explain why you think that animals deserve protection.

3. Compassion in Action

Watch the CBC documentary with your students ‘Fix and Release‘ (15:37).

Post Video Discussion Questions

  • How is the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre acting compassionately?
  • What impact in this organization making in their community?
  • Do you think their work is important? Why?
  • Are their organizations in Alberta that are doing similar work? Who are they? What are they doing?

Individually or in groups research a person or an organization that acts compassionately to make a difference for animals, people or the environment. How are they acting compassionately and what are the impacts they making in their community? Share your findings in a PowerPoint, poster or class presentation!

EXTENSION: Encourage your students to help the organization by doing a Class Action project

Screenshot from "Fix and Release'

Curriculum Connections

Grade 7

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • obtain information from a variety of courses, such as adults, peers, advertisements, magazines, lyrics, formal interviews, almanacs, broadcasts and videos, to explore research questions.

3.3 Organize, Record and Evaluate

  • assess if the amount and quality of gathered information is appropriate to purpose and audience; address information gaps.
Grade 8

3.2 Select and Process

  • obtain information from a variety of sources, such as artifacts, debates, forums, biographies, autobiographies, surveys, documentaries, films, CDROMs, charts and tables, when conducting research.

3.3 Organize, Record and Evaluate

  • evaluate the relevance and importance of gathered information; address information gaps.
Grade 9

3.2 Select and Process

  • obtain information reflecting multiple perspectives from a variety of sources, such as expository essays, graphs, diagrams, online catalogues, periodical indices, film libraries, electronic databases and the Internet, when conducting research.

3.3 Organize, Record and Evaluate

  • evaluate usefulness, relevance and completeness of gathered information; address information gaps

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