Forming an Ethics Bowl Team

What is a high school ethics bowl?

An Ethics Bowl is a collaborative yet competitive event, in which teams are presented with a series of wide-ranging ethical dilemmas and are asked to analyze them as a team; teams are then judged on the basis of the quality of their ethical and practical reasoning, including their ability to present coherent arguments and to recognize and take into account the likely objections to those arguments. An exciting tournament, it is also a way for students to gain valuable insight into ethical and philosophical issues and to deepen their ethical understanding by appreciating the force of ethical positions with which they disagree.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB), which is adapted for high school use, was created by Dr. Robert Ladenson at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1993. For more information about the history and basic format, visit:

Any ethical dilemmas can be used in the event, but many high school ethics bowls rely on those particularly relevant to young students, such as questions about cheating, plagiarism, peer pressure, use and abuse of social media, the right to privacy, relationship responsibilities. However, political and social issues (free speech, gun control, eco-tourism) and bioethical issues (cloning, parental consent) are also of great interest for teenagers.

How do I get started?

The National High School Ethics Bowl coordinates over twelve regional high school ethics bowls and organizes the annual national bowl, and its site includes information about starting a team and resources for doing so:


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