Gilligan's Theory of Moral Development Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Explore Carol Gilligan's theory of moral development with the assistance of a video lesson. An activity highlights key facts about the theory and allows students to apply what they know.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'morals'
  • summarize Carol Gilligan's theory of moral development
  • list examples for each stage of Gilligan's theory


45 to 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.


Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claims.


  • Paper copies of the worksheet from the associated video lesson
  • Oversized construction paper
  • Fine-tipped markers


  • Begin by writing the following phrase on the board for the class to see: 'right vs. wrong'.
    • How do teenagers learn the differences between what is right and what is wrong?
    • Are there differences among males and females regarding opinions of right and wrong?
  • Play the video lesson Carol Gilligan's Theory of Moral Development and pause it at 2:53.
    • Do you agree with Gilligan's position that care-based morality is more common in females? Why or why not?
    • Do you agree that boys are more likely to associate with justice-based morality? Why or why not?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.

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