I am fond of using mini-problems in ethics classes--tiny little every day questions of not very great significance. The point of discussing them is that they don't arouse any distracting emotionality, and people don't "identify" with particular solutions (like they do when it comes to matters like abortion and gay marriage). So you can have a dispassionate, exploratory discussion. What's more, I think it's actually good for us to take such problems seriously, when they come up in real life. After all, it's not every day that a really serious, earth-shattering moral problem lands in our laps. We need to prepare for the day when doing the right thing is going to matter a lot.
So much for the preamble. Here's a mini-problem I ran into recently-- My daughter desperately needed a sketchbook to do a quick assignment for her art class. She'd been counting on using last year's sketchbook, but couldn't find it. It was 9:30 pm, and we thought Target was our best bet, but it closed at 10. We raced to Target and found one sketchbook in the art supplies section, but it looked a bit damaged. We could find no other, so took it to the cash register. The cashier could find no price-tag, so sold it to us for a dollar. When we got home, my daughter discovered the notebook had notes on the first few pages. It was actually someone's lost notebook, not Target merchandise. If she returned it the next day, she'd have nothing to bring to art class, and she was sure she'd be penalized. If she kept it, the student would never recover his lost notebook. There was no phone number in the book, but there was a name. What would have been the right thing to do?