Step 1: Set up the organizing committee.

Committee members should be selected from organizations that have a
vested interest in education, and in philosophical and ethical thinking. Members might be selected from, but not limited to, the following: provincial department of education, local school division consultants’ groups, university faculties of philosophy or education, provincial teachers’ association, organizations that promote human rights, retired teachers, university students, health professionals, law societies, and parent advisory groups.

The focus of the committee will be the promotion of the Ethics Bowl in public high schools, training of the teams, finding judges and moderators, and organizing the regional Ethics Bowl.

Step 2: Find support.

Ideally, a minimum of six public high schools teams should take part in an Ethics Bowl. For school divisions with fewer than six high schools, or those in large geographic regions, Ethics Bowls may take place with fewer numbers of schools, or divisions can find innovative solutions such as online participation (e.g., via Skype).

For purposes of the pilot year, and as the Canadian Ethics Bowl committee works toward a formal national structure, provinces and territories may send more than one team to the 2019 pilot national Ethics Bowl. The future goal
of the Canadian Ethics Bowl committee is the participation of one team (the regional finalists) from each province and territory in the Canadian High School Ethics Bowl.

To find schools to participate, approach school division superintendents and consultants, teachers, and school administrators, as well as other personal contacts, and then provide them with the promotional materials posted on the Canadian High School Ethics Bowl website.

In order to keep costs at a minimum and to increase engagement, establish relationships with an organization that will provide meeting rooms for team and teacher training and the regional Ethics Bowl at no cost. Provincial departments of education or a school division are good options for locations for training sessions. Although the regional Ethics Bowl may also be held in those settings, a university setting will provide an opportunity for students to experience the university campus, and will further legitimize the regional Ethics Bowl.

Step 3: Register teams.

An Ethics Bowl is a public high school event. Teams have five members with two alternates. Alternates may participate in an Ethics Bowl if a team member is unavailable. Team members may be selected from Grades 9 to 12 in the school registering the team.

It may be necessary to charge a registration fee for the regional Ethics Bowl to offset costs for trophies, food, and gifts for judges and moderators.

All regional teams must register online at the Canadian High School Ethics Bowl website at ethicsbowl.ca by the end of October. Fill out the registration form and submit it with registration fee as outlined on the website.

Step 4: Prepare teams.

In mid-October, host a training session for teachers and students. Refer to the website for information on preparing students and teachers.

All ethics cases will be provided by the Canadian High School Ethics Bowl committee, and distributed the day of your training session.

Step 5: Prepare judges and moderators.

For every two teams registered to participate, three judges and one moderator are needed. Judges and moderators may be former or current teachers
from non-competing schools, university students, teacher candidates, or representatives of professional groups and individuals with a vested interest in ethics. Judges do not need to be experts in ethics. Teachers from competing schools and parents of team members cannot be judges or moderators.

Judges and moderators need to prepare for their role by reviewing the provided ethical cases, scoring criteria, moderator’s script, and score sheet. Judges should draft potential questions for each case, which they will ask of teams during the questions round. Judges and moderators should each provide a very short biography for the regional Ethics Bowl program.

If need be, host a training session to familiarize judges and moderators with the logistics of the Ethics Bowl and to answer their questions.

Step 6: Host a regional Ethics Bowl.

  • Arrange for a large gathering room to start the Ethics Bowl, and enough rooms to accommodate each set of two teams, as well as the judges, moderators, and guests.
  • Teams should be placed at the front of the room, angled toward each other and facing the audience. The moderator is placed between the teams. Judges should be placed at the front of the audience, facing the teams. (See page 18 for illustration.)
  • Prior to the event, organize the Ethics Bowl schedule so that each team is guaranteed three matches, followed by the semi-finals and finals.
  • If videotaping or taking pictures, make sure that all participants have signed media release forms.
  • Invite guests, such as school division superintendents, school trustees, faculty of education professors, school administrators, and potential sponsors, to attend.
  • Order trophies for first and second place.
  • Order food for lunch and nutrition breaks. Determine whether there are any food allergies, and encourage students to bring their own water bottles.
  • Organize the program so that it includes the following:
    • agenda for the day
    • names and short bios of the judges and moderators
    • names of the team members
    • schedule of matches with the presiding judges, moderators, and room allocation
  • Provide teachers with parking information and the schedule prior to the Ethics Bowl.
  • Volunteers will be needed to set up the allocated rooms, help with breaks and lunch, and direct teams to their next match.
  • At the end, distribute evaluation forms to all participants (e.g., students, teachers, judges) to solicit feedback.



  1. In the spring, send an information package to the provincial Department of Education, school division, school administrators, and teachers, explaining the value of participating in an Ethics Bowl. Direct contact with teachers and students is often very effective.
  2. At the end of August, send a registration package to the schools.
  3. At the end of September, send a reminder about the upcoming team and teacher preparation.
  4. In mid-October, host the team and teacher training. See team and teacher preparation section for assistance. (This takes a full day.)
  5. At the end of October, host a two-hour training session for judges and moderators.
  6. Before the end of February, host a regional Ethics Bowl. December is a good time for this, prior to the winter holiday and before January final exams.
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