Laws, Rules and Customs

Worksheet 1

Conduct a class discussion to come up with a common set of class notes which address the following questions:

  1. What parts of our lives are controlled by laws, rules and customs?

  2. Why are laws, rules and customs important in society?

Example of a simple statement presented by the students:

Everything we do is controlled by laws, rules and customs. These are important to prevent people from going crazy.
  1. How would you describe a law?

Example of a simple statement presented by the students:

Law: Is made by the government and affects everybody in society. For example: Do not kill other people.
  1. How would you describe a rule?

Example of a simple statement presented by the students:

Rule: Made by a group and affects only people in that group. For example: School rules, sports rules, family rules.
  1. How would you describe a custom?

Example of a simple statement presented by the students:

Custom: A tradition that people follow in a particular society. For example: Giving Easter eggs.

Worksheet 2

An example of the laws, rules and customs which students said had affected them in their daily lives.

Laws Rules Customs
  • Do not commit murder.
  • Do not steal.
  • Do not drive without a licence.
  • No littering allowed.
  • Must wear clothes in public.
  • Must be 18 to be in a pub after midnight.
  • Can't watch R rated movie if you are under 18.
  • Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
  • Do not throw the ball (handball only).
  • Must wear a school uniform.
  • Do not swear at teachers.
  • Make your bed.
  • Must wear a suit to a 'Black Tie' function.
  • All dogs must be registered.
  • Put a Christmas tree up.
  • Shake hands when introduced to someone.
  • Give eggs at Easter time.
  • Bring teacher an apple.
  • Say 'excuse me' after burping.
  • Must be nice to Mrs Harwood.

Worksheet 3

There are many laws that decide what we do and when we do it. Simple things like putting on clothes are required by law. Going to school, road rules, laws about marriages and juvenile laws are all examples of laws.

Laws have been around for over 4000 years. Laws in ancient civilisations were strict, usually resulting in physical punishments or even death.

So why do we have all these laws and punishments? Without laws there would be chaos. Imagine this class at its most crazy times; this is nothing like what it would be like. There would be no way to calm down some children or keep them quiet.

Obviously we need laws or we wouldn't have a side of the road to drive on or people would not be educated.

  • In the table below students had to decide whether they would describe the following situations as legally wrong, morally wrong or both. A tick in the appropriate location indicates their choice.
Crime Legally wrong Morally wrong
  • Shop stealing.
  • Stealing a loaf of bread for a friend who is starving.
  • Stealing prescription drugs for a dying parent.
  • Selling heroin to eight-year-olds.
  • Killing someone.
  • Killing someone who threatens your life.
  • Killing someone during war.
  • Killing Osama bin Laden.
  • Killing a member of your family who is in pain.