Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods.

The learner will:

  • define the roles of various volunteers during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
  • plan and execute a volunteer effort within the community.
  • Computer with Internet access and a printer for the computer
  • Pompoms (optional)
  • Transparencies of Brief Biographies (Attachment One)
  • Large poster of Core Democratic Values (Attachment Two)
  • It Can Be Done (Attachment Three)
  • Volunteer Responsibilities (Attachment Four)
  • Overhead projector
  • Overhead transparencies and markers
  • Telephone directories
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Permission slip for student participation in the volunteer project.

  • Altman, Susan. Extraordinary Black Americans: From Colonial to Contemporary Times. Chicago: Children's Press, 1989. ISBN0-516-00581-2


  • Fugate, Sandy. For the Benefit of All: A History of Philanthropy in Michigan. Battle Creek: W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 1997. ISBN 1-891445-00-6


  • Philanthropy Timelines http://www.learningtogive.org/timeline/


  • Boston African American National Historic Site http://www.nps.gov/boaf/


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students if they have ever heard a cheer where the audience is asked to spell a word. What word is it? (Often the name of the team or its nickname is spelled. Also "victory" is spelled in cheers for sporting events.) Tell the class that you will lead a cheer in which they will supply the necessary letters. Ask for a volunteer to keep track of the letters on the board or chart paper as you lead the cheer. Begin your cheer, shaking your pompoms. Say, give me a "V." Continue until you have spelled "volunteer." At the end of the cheer, say, "What does it spell?" Wait for the correct response. Clap and stop.


    Day One:

  2. What is a "volunteer?" (One who freely offers his or her service; one who performs a service or good work for others without pay.) Encourage students to discover the definition as it relates to a service completed with no desire for restitution and contributes to the common good.

  3. Select one of the Brief Biographies (Attachment One) to read with an emphasis on volunteering. Use markers to emphasize points in relation to the Core Democratic Values (Attachment Two). Students should have prior knowledge about the Core Democratic Values. If not, it will be necessary to develop an understanding of these concepts. Ask students to explain which Core Democratic Value was evident in the selection.

  4. Distribute one Brief Biography (Attachment One) to each team of students. Tell students that they will have an opportunity to work with a partner to determine the virtues of an individual from Brief Biographies (Attachment One). They should mark, highlight, or make notes on the sheet. Allow ten minutes.

  5. Reconvene students for group presentations. The presentations should focus on the volunteer action, who benefited, and the Core Democratic Value that was emphasized.

  6. In a summary discussion, have students assess the importance of "volunteers" during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

  7. Day Two:

  8. Ask the learners to discuss whether they as students have a responsibility to act in the voluntary sector to improve the common good. Using It Can Be Done (Attachment Three), survey the class to determine for what type of organizations they would like to volunteer. Reiterate the format that should be used, placing emphasis on how you contact the organization to volunteer your services. What type of jobs can be done? What are the responsibilities of the jobs? Who will be the contact person? What is the address of the organization? How will it benefit the organization and which members of our community will ultimately benefit? Tell students that they are going to present their information to the class the next time you meet. The balance of the class period should be used for this assignment. If the work is not finished, encourage students to complete the assignment as homework.

  9. Day Three: Explain to the students that they should pay close attention to the presentations because they will be voting later to select an organization for which to volunteer as a class. After all of the information has been presented and collected, write the names of the organizations on the board or chart paper. Tell students that they are to vote only once and that the organization with the most votes will be the class project for volunteerism and service. Take the vote.

  10. Ask students why they think the organization selected would be a good choice. Divide them into groups of three or four to brainstorm about the jobs and responsibilities that are required to make this volunteer effort work. Volunteer Responsibilities (Attachment Four) should be used for gathering this information. Students should work cooperatively for 20-30 minutes. At the end of this time, ask for three volunteers to work in a group to contact the organization.

  11. As the teacher, once you have presented the project to your administrator or appropriate supervisor, you will need to prepare a letter for parents/guardians to gain permission for the students to take part.


Students should assess their volunteer activity once the project is completed. It Can Be Done is to be used as the lesson assessment. Information Sheet Rubric Points Awarded Criteria 4 Clear and detailed answers for 9-11 of the questions are provided 3 Answers in detail at least 7-8 of the questions 2 Provides answers to 5-6 of the questions 1 Detailed information provided for 4 or less of the questions

Cross Curriculum 

After completing a survey to determine interests and making arrangements with a local nonprofit organization, students will provide volunteer service as arranged.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Give historic and contemporary examples of a voluntary action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.

Academic Standards

Select categories to search for standards.

Handouts Coming Soon

Logo Red

Handouts Coming Soon

Please "excuse our construction dust." Our new website went live on October 1, and we are still converting the lesson plan handouts to the new system. We will have the remaining handouts live as soon as possible. Please contact us if you need any handouts immediately.  We will prioritize the conversion of the handouts and notify you when they are available.