Heroes and Celebrities

3, 4, 5

To help students recognize distinctions between heroes and celebrities.

Lesson Rating 
1-2 class periods

  • From class discussion and a vocabulary game, students will match eight vocabulary terms: celebrity, charity, service, volunteer, hero, leader, role model, and philanthropy, to a correct definition.
  • Students will differentiate between "hero" and "celebrity" using a Venn diagram.


  • List of vocabulary terms and definitions (see Instructional Procedures).
  • Index cards
  • Venn Diagram sheet
  • Heroes and Celebrities Vocabulary Quiz (see Attachment One)


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students to name someone they consider a hero. Brainstorm a list and write on the board or overhead. Include all names given. Examples: fireman, policeman, mom, dad, as well as specific names such as Michael Jordan, Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, etc. (Students will generally name sports and entertainment figures).

  2. Have students look carefully at the complete list, then together try to identify characteristics of a hero. Examples: courageous, unselfish, generous, caring, selfless, a volunteer, someone who goes above and beyond, stands for achievement, gives to society or the community.

  3. Help students develop the following characteristics for a hero:
    • A hero does things to help others.
    • A hero contributes to society in a positive way.
    • A hero doesn't always know anyone else knows what he or she does.
    • A hero doesn't usually receive money and may not receive status for the deed.
    • The work a hero performs often goes unnoticed.
    • A hero may or may not be recognized by the media.
    • A hero uses talents or abilities to impact others or society in a positive way.
  4. Help students develop the following characteristics for a celebrity:
    • A celebrity is highly visible-well known.
    • A celebrity is usually recognized for some form of talent, beauty, or material quality.
    • A celebrity is usually recognized for a performance.
    • A celebrity's image or recognition in the media may change.
  5. Look at the list of named heroes/heroines, then using the list of traits you identified for "Hero" and "Celebrity." Place the names in the proper categories.
  6. You may want to place names on individual index cards, pass them out to students, and have a student place his card in the proper category. Discuss why the name belongs in that category. Perhaps some names could be placed in both.
  7. Introduce the following vocabulary words:celebrity - (noun)1. A highly visible person, usually recognized for some form of talent, beauty, or quality.charity - (noun)2. Tolerance or understanding in judging others. 3. The giving of money or other help to needy people. 4. A group or fund organized to help needy people.service - (noun)1. The act or work of helping others; aid.2. Work or employment for someone else.3. Benefit or use - work that helps other people.volunteer - (noun)1. Someone who does a job or gives services freely and usually without pay.2. (verb) to give or offer usually without being asked.hero - (noun)1. Any person admired for great courage, nobility, qualities, or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model.leader - (noun)1. A person that shows the way or directs others.2. To guide or direct by influence to do something.3. To be at the first or head of.role-model - (noun)1. A person who is usually successful or inspiring in some social role, job, position, and so serves as a model for others.philanthropy - (noun)1. Private action for the public or common good.
  8. Practice using vocabulary terms in sentences. This activity may be written, or place each vocabulary term on an index card.
  9. Assign small groups (3-4); pass out index cards, asking each group to work cooperatively to come up with a sentence for each word on their index cards.
  10. Groups share sentences. The class identifies the correct vocabulary term from the sentence.

Students fill out a Venn Diagram, comparing the word "celebrity" with the word "hero," identifying at least three traits for each word.
"Heroes and Celebrities Vocabulary Quiz" (see Attachment One).

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Define philanthropy and charity.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.11 Describe the difference between volunteer and paid labor.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.

Academic Standards

Select categories to search for standards.

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