Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Role Playing for the Common Good
Lesson 3
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Students explore how people apply the Core Democratic Values in problem-solving situations. They use role-playing to demonstrate positive strategies in order to promote the common good at school.


Duration: One or Two Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (Plus time for presentations to other classes)


The learner will:

  • define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.

  • role-play simple conflict resolution at school.

  • state the CDV employed or supported in the role-play situation.

  • present skits to other classes to promote the common good at school.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

Students take their skits to classrooms of younger students in the school. They use this as an opportunity to teach others some positive strategies for solving problems in school.


Mini-posters of CDVs from Lesson One: What Are Our Common Values? as a reference.

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Write the word community on the board. Ask the students to define the word and ask them to name some of the communities to which they belong. Tell the students that you would like to define community as the degree that people come together for the common good. Ask the students what it means in our school community to come together for the common good. Ask them whether, according to this definition, it matters to them how the children in other grades act on the playground. Why? Lead the students to perceive the importance of the other classes understanding the importance of the Core Democratic Values for the sake of the whole community.

  • Tell the students that they will have an opportunity to teach other students in the school what they have learned about the importance of the Core Democratic Values in the school setting. One way to promote the common good at school is to give students tools for solving minor conflicts.

  • Divide the class into small groups. Assign one Core Democratic Value to each group. Each group must think of a common conflict in the classroom or on the playground. Then they must think of a positive way to solve the conflict using their assigned CDV. For example, group A is assigned the CDV of “Pursuit of Happiness.” Some students in the group pretend to jump rope on the playground. Some other students start playing hopscotch in the same general space as the jump-ropers because the jump-ropers are on the hopscotch board. They role-play a little conflict about invading each other’s space. One student says, “We all have the right to be happy as long as we don’t take away someone else’s right to be happy.” The group then either decides that the jump-ropers will move away from the hopscotch board or the hopscotch players agree to draw a new outline.

  • After the groups have created and practiced their role-plays, they can perform them for the rest of the class. The rest of the class can give them feedback for improving the skit or for making the CDV clearer.

  • When the skits are polished, the students present them to other classes in order to teach other students some valuable problem-solving strategies.

  • When you return to the classroom after the presentations, introduce the term Community Capital to the students. Explain that by making a positive effort for the good of the school community, they have “banked” some community capital. Students may view them positively, as role models for positive behavior. Other students are likely to be “inspired” by this investment to be kind and giving in return or to pass it on to someone else. Congratulate them on their positive investment for the good of their community.


Assess students’ skits using the following rubric:

Give one point for each of the four required elements.

1. Skit recreates a realistic conflict situation that is familiar to students in this school.

2. Each student has a part and demonstrates involvement and attention to responsibility.

3. Skit demonstrates a positive approach to solving a minor conflict.

4. Students clearly state the Core Democratic Value supported in the skit.

School/Home Connection:

  • Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
    None for this lesson.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

None for this lesson.

Bibliographical References:

None for this lesson.

Lesson Developed By:

Angela Noble
Benton Harbor Area Schools
Creative Arts Academy
Benton Harbor, MI 49022


Philanthropy Framework:


Heather, Teacher – Flat Rock, MI9/17/2007 5:39:36 PM

Role-play is an interesting and motivating way to present CDVs and philanthropy.

Lori, Teacher – Grand Haven, MI9/17/2007 5:43:53 PM

The multiple intelligences(strategies)addressed in this lesson helped all students to be successful.

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Core Democratic Values in Action Summary


What Are Our Common Values?
CDVs at Home and School
Role Playing for the Common Good

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