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 timely and timeless ethical dilemmas and are asked to analyze and discuss them. Students have several months to work together preparing the cases; during the event, teams are judged on the quality and depth 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. Teams are also recognized for their ability to engage in ethical inquiry and discussion while maintaining a collegial, respectful tone.


Besides encouraging ethical inquiry and civic engagement, High School Ethics Bowls promote collaboration between high schools and nearby colleges and universities, which can supply the venue for the event, as well as judges and moderators. Judges can also be drawn from the surrounding community.


Over 30 regional High School Ethics Bowls take place across the US. Winning teams are invited to participate in the National High School Ethics Bowl Finals, held in April at the Parr Center for Ethics – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. For general information about high school Ethics Bowl as well as information about regional and the national events, archived cases, and the Case Writing Competition, visit: http://nhseb.unc.edu


The National High School Ethics Bowl was founded in 2012 through a partnership between the Parr Center for Ethics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the Squire Family Foundation (www.squirefoundation.org). It was adapted for high school use from the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) with permission from the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.


For more information about Regional High School Ethics Bowls,

contact: risraeloff@squirefoundation.org


The Ethics Bowl format was created in 1993 by Dr. Robert Ladenson, philosophy professor (emeritus) at the Illinois Institute of Technology. It can be adapted for classroom use.


The Intercollege Ethics Bowl (IEB), in which over 140 teams participate both regionally and nationally, began in 1996. For more information about IEB, and to learn about coordinating high school and college ethics bowls, visit:



For more information about the history of the Ethics Bowl, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_Bowl