Ethics Initiatives

Ethics Case Writing Project


PLATO is pleased to launch a national student ethics case writing project. Any middle or high school student in the United States can participate.

The goal is to create an open-access library of case studies focusing on ethical dilemmas relevant to middle and high school students that can be used in middle and high school classrooms and in other ethics forums.

Accepted cases will be published on PLATO’s website, with credit to the writers, and students will receive $100 for each published case. A team of graduate students will review and edit the cases before publication.

All published cases become the property of PLATO.

Description of Ethics Cases

Guidelines: Each case should focus on an ethical issue, current or perennial, relevant to middle and/or high school students. The case must consider the ethical issue from at least two viewpoints presented fully and generously, so that the complexity of the case is made clear. If you have suggestions for study questions for students analyzing the case, please include them.

Length: 300-500 words

Sample case: “Standing for the National Anthem.”

Authorship: Cases can be written by individuals or a group of students (all contributors will be credited).

Judging Criteria

All submissions will be anonymously reviewed by a committee of five judges according to the following criteria:

  • Does the case clearly articulate the ethical issue and its ethical complications?
  • Does the case explicitly consider at least two viewpoints in a balanced way?
  • Is the case well-written and clearly organized?


DEADLINE: Submit cases online by completing the form to the right (or below on mobile), by 5 pm Monday, August 14, 2023.

Writers of accepted cases will be notified in September 2023.

Submit Your Case Here

    Intergenerational Programs


    PLATO regularly runs intergenerational ethics events. These include programs for students and family members (example here) and for seniors and young people (example here).

    We believe that ethics and philosophy are for everyone. We hope to provide resources and spaces for people of all ages to engage together with some of life’s deepest questions. In a world increasingly spatially and socially segregated by age, it is more important than ever to do so in an intergenerational way. 

    The structure for these events begins with a brief description of PLATO and philosophy with young people. We then introduce a prompt that is appropriate for a wide variety of age groups and provokes thinking about a difficult ethics question. Following the prompt, we facilitate a discussion in much the same way we do in classrooms around the country — first in small, mixed-age groups with a discussion leader, and then in a whole group conversation.

    These programs empower families to engage philosophically with their students at home — while reading, doing chores around the house, or any time a deep question arises — and provide an opportunity for participants to expand their insights into the perspectives of other generations. 

    These events are free, open to the public, and located in accessible community locations (such as libraries, universities, and public schools).

    For more information, contact

    What Is The Ethics Bowl?

    Ethics Bowl

    Created nearly thirty years ago in a college classroom by philosophy professor  Robert Ladenson, the Ethics Bowl now involves thousands of students across the country and the world. Ethics Bowl is a collaborative yet competitive event, similar to debate but different. Teams do not take adversarial positions but rather work together to analyze and clarify ethical issues. Ethics Bowl prepares students to appreciate the virtues of living in a deliberative democracy and nurtures habits of mind that strengthen local, national, and global citizenship.

    Teams of students are presented with a series of wide-ranging ethical dilemmas, and they prepare responses to the cases in advance. During the Bowl, teams are judged on the quality and depth of their ethical and practical reasoning, including their ability to present coherent arguments and recognize and consider likely objections to those arguments. Teams are also evaluated on their ability to engage in ethical discussion while maintaining a collegial, respectful tone.

    “The Ethics Bowl has prepared me to go into a conversation ready to have my mind changed.”
    – Seattle high school student

    Ethics Bowl Programs

    “I think exposure to ethical problem solving makes for wiser, more thoughtful and civic minded teens.”
    – Parent of High School Ethics Bowl student