Responsibility and Citizenship
Students explore what it means to be a responsible citizen and identify ways they are responsible at home, in school, and in the community. They explore leadership and service and design a campaign to advocate for health in their city.
- explore what it means to be responsible citizens.
- develop trust and responsibility through a cooperative game.
- identify ways they are responsible at home, in school, and in the community.
- identify national and world leaders.
- identify qualities of leadership.
- explain how leadership applies to service.
- writing materials
- student journals
- student copies of Food and Exercise Log (Lesson Two, Handout 2)
- Internet access (optional)
- books and magazines at students’ independent reading level about leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela
- responsible: worthy of trust
- responsible citizen: a trusted member of a community who obeys laws and respects and helps others
- trust: confidence or faith in a person or thing
- leader: a person who has influence and acts in ways that others look up to
- public service announcement: an advertisement broadcast on radio or television, intended to change attitudes by raising awareness about specific issues
- service: useful work that one is not paid for
Have students write in their reflection journal, started in previous lessons.
Journal Question 10: What is a hero? What qualities make someone a hero? Describe a hero you know personally or know about in your community.
Journal Question 11: Name a leader (local, national, world) that you admire. What qualities do you share?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” Discuss with students what they learned about big and small ways they can act as leaders in their community. Ask each student to give one example of how they have acted as a leader in Building Healthy Communities, or how they plan to act as leaders in the future.
Anticipatory Set: (Estimated Time: 10 minutes) Ask students what it means to be responsible (being worthy of trust). Then ask students what it means to be a responsible citizen (being a trusted member of a community who obeys the laws and respects and helps others). Tell the students that for the class to design, develop and execute a service project, there must be trust and responsibility among all the participants. Discuss why trust makes a service project more successful. Play Student Drivers. This silent cooperative game develops trust and responsibility. Move desks or tables to the sides of the room. Pair students. One person is the car. The car stands with his or her eyes closed and hands held in front of the chest with palms outward – these are the car’s bumpers. The other person in the pair is the driver. The driver stands behind with hands on the shoulders of the car. The driver, with eyes open, steers the sightless car around the room and must avoid collisions with other car-and-driver pairs. Remind student drivers that the safety of the car is their responsibility. When the facilitator says, “Go,” both car and drivers move silently around the room. After 3 or 4 minutes, the facilitator says, “Stop.” Cars and driver switch roles and repeat. Optional: use music to indicate go and stop. (Platts, David Earl, as cited by Maheshvarananda, Dada. “Cooperative Games that Teach Solidarity.” New Renaissance Magazine. Vol. 11, No. 3, issue 38, Autumn, 2002) Ask the following reflection questions:
At the beginning of the game, how did it feel to be the sightless car? (Answers may include: scary, unsure, nervous, afraid to move.)
How did it feel after a minute or two? (not as scary) Why? (Answers may include: Because we didn't bump into anyone else, I began to trust my driver, I felt I was in good hands.)
At the beginning of the game, how did it feel to be the driver responsible for the car? (Answers may include: unsure, awkward, nervous.)
How did it feel after a minute or two? (not as scary) Why? (Answers may include: Because I was not bumping into others, I saw that other drivers were also being careful, I got more confident.)
In what way did the whole class work together? (Answers may include: We moved around the room and each other without collisions. It was fun. It felt good to succeed as a group.)
Focus Activity (Estimated Time: 35 minutes)
Write the word responsible on the board. Then have each student use it in a sentence about something he or she is responsible for. For example, I am responsible for taking out the trash.
Challenge students to each write a list of at least a dozen ways they are responsible at home, at school, and in the community.
Have students choose one of two writing options:
- Select one way they are responsible and spend 15 minutes writing about that responsibility. (Remind students how they have acted as good citizens throughout Healthy Communities by teaching other people about health.)
- Write a vertical poem for the word responsible. Write each letter down the left side of the page, one letter per line. Then write a poem (free verse is fine) in which the first letter of the first word in each line begins with a letter in the word responsible.
Invite students to share their stories and poems.
Have students add to their Food and Exercise Log (Lesson Two, Handout 2). They fill in the date (or dates) and list the foods they ate at each meal under the correct food group heading. You Have students also record their physical activity and time, and time spent watching TV or using the computer. Keep logs in their journals or special Healthy Communities folders.
Anticipatory Set: (Estimated Time: 10 minutes)
Play the cooperative game Knots ‘R’ Us that requires the group to work together to untie themselves. Students stand in circles of up to ten players. Players in each circle stand shoulder-to-shoulder and put their arms out in front of them. Then players join hands with the hand of two different people who are on the opposite side of the circle. This is the knot. The challenge is to untangle the knot so the group is standing in a circle holding hands without letting go of the hands players are holding. Players have to duck under or over, twist, or turn. Sometimes the knot can’t be untangled. If after 10 minutes, the knot is not untangled, the facilitator may help by momentarily “cutting” one link, and then reconnect it. (Platts, David Earl, as cited by Maheshvarananda, Dada. “Cooperative Games that Teach Solidarity.” New Renaissance Magazine. Vol. 11, No. 3, issue 38, Autumn, 2002)
Ask the following reflection questions:
- What was the most challenging aspect of this game? (Answers may include: figuring out what to do first, undoing a move that didn’t help, trying to listen to lots of people at once.)
- Who made suggestions? (Answers will vary.) What was their tone? Did everyone follow the suggestion? Why or why not?
- What might have made the game easier? (Answers may vary: Appointing one leader or guide.)
Play again, with a leader chosen by the group or teacher, and compare the outcomes.
Focus Activity (Estimated Time: 35 minutes)
Movestudents into small groups of three or four to brainstorm a list of world, national, or local service leaders. Leaders may include people whose service is well known (Martin Luther King, Jr.; Rosa Parks; President John F. Kennedy; Oprah Winfrey; Nelson Mandela; Gandhi) but also those who have made a difference in less recognized ways (teachers, coaches, family members, friends).
After groups list leaders, have them select two for their group to research. Have them write a paragraph about what the leaders did.
Have groups read their paragraphs to the whole class. Then ask the class to brainstorm qualities that make their subject a leader.
Then ask, “What does health have to do with leadership?” Explore whether you have to be a healthy role model to be a health leader. (Some people become leaders because they are unwell: Michael J. Fox helps raise money for a cure to Parkinson Disease. Breast Cancer research groups have been started by women who have the disease.)
Brainstorm ways groups raise awareness and money for their causes. (This may include rallies, sit-ins, hunger strikes, nonviolent demonstrations, walks-a-thons, letter-writing campaigns, selling products, such as Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong bracelets, and posters.)
Discuss unusual ways to promote a public service. (Celebrities donate their time, such as Shaquille O’Neal work's to fight childhood obesity. City transit displayed poetry on buses and in subways cars to promote the pleasures of reading. Public service ads on TV and radio promote family time, fire safety, etc.)
Students add to their Food and Exercise Logs (Lesson Two, Handout 2). Have students fill in the date (or dates) and list the foods they ate at each meal under the correct food group heading. Have students also record their physical activity and time, and time spent watching TV or using the computer. Keep logs in journals or special Healthy Communities folders.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark E.1 Explore and research issues and present solutions using communication tools.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.