Learning from the Past: A New Approach
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe important events in the growth and maturation of the civil society sector in the nation.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Trace the historic roots of philanthropy in the nation's history.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.

Learners will research how colonial organizations, which developed in the nonprofit/ independent sector, have transformed themselves over time to continue to provide for the common good.

PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe how the work of some early colonial organizations still impacts the common good.
  • identify how the Core Democratic Values are represented in the work of independent sector organizations.
  • evaluate the outcome of a service to the community.
  • Internet access
  • Learner copies of Core Democratic Values for Elementary Students (see Handout One)
  • Learner copies of Independent Organizations Go Public (see Handout Two)
  • Learner copies of How Well Did It Go? (see Handout Three)
Home Connection: 

Interactive Parent / Learner Homework:Learners may choose to ask family members to share information about the book collection with their friends who may be willing to contribute books to the drive.


Dartmouth College http://www.dartmouth.edu/ This is the home site of Dartmouth College. Click on "About Dartmouth."

Library Company of Philadelphia https://librarycompany.org/ This is the home site of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Click on "About LCP" and then go to "LCP History."

McConnell, Kathryn. Iroquois Constitution Influenced That of U.S., Historians Say. U.S Department of State.

Smithsonian Institution https://www.si.edu/  This is the home site of the Smithsonian Institution. Click on "About Us" at the bottom of the page.

The Center for Civic Education Web-site https://www.civiced.org/ Civitas: a Framework for Civic Education. Scroll down to "Politics and Government in the U.S.". Click on Topic 1, "Fundamental Values and Principles"

University of Pennsylvania Health System https://www.pennmedicine.org/ This is the home site of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Click on "History of Pennsylvania Hospital."

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the students that many people consider the colonists to be the first Americans, but the first citizens of the Americas were Native Americans. The Iroquois, a North American Indian confederacy of several tribes, allied with some of the first European settlers of what later became the United States. The Colonists learned many things from these first citizens. The Iroquois' constitution -- called the Great Law of Peace – assured the common good by establishing a representative form of government, guaranteeing freedom of religion and expression, and the right to form associations. These features were later embraced in what became the U.S. system of democracy.

    Day One:

  2. Explain to learners that in the colonial period individuals formed organizations in their community to help people. They were demonstrating the Core Democratic Value of common good (citizens should work together for the good of all). Distribute Core Democratic Values for Elementary Students (Handout One). In a whole group discussion, review the list of fundamental beliefs. Make sure learners understand the terms and can give examples of them.

  3. Day Two:

  4. Review the list of Core Democratic Values.

  5. Distribute Independent Organizations Go Public (Handout Two). Instruct learners that they are to look at this list, select one organization to research and complete the form by filling in the information requested. Tell learners that some organizations may have more than one Core Democratic Value. Explain that a reason should be provided to support the answer given.

  6. Day Three:

  7. Review the previous day's work with brief summaries from each group. Allow 10-15 minutes for this activity, directing learners to format their information by answering the following questions. Before beginning, model the process for the learners. Say:

    • The name of my organization is ZZZ Sleep.
    • It provided places to sleep for the homeless in All Weather, Pennsylvania.
    • ZZZ Sleep was founded in the year 1642.
    • U. R. Sleepy started it.
    • The Core Democratic Values that were satisfied by this organization are Common Good, Popular Sovereignty, and Patriotism.
    • Today, the organization is known as Repeat Sleep.
    • It is governed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  8. Discuss with the learners the importance of all the organizations they have researched. Explain that some organizations that were created over time were abandoned because the need was no longer there.

  9. Explain that the individual oral reports will be used for the assessment. Explain the criteria for evaluation. Have learners give their oral reports.

  10. If learners are interested in providing a service for the common good, suggest that they might want to provide reading materials for children in homeless shelters. Brainstorm a list of tasks that will have to be completed and have learners form committees for each task. Ask learners to brainstorm and agree on a place to donate the books (children’s unit of a local hospital, health clinic, homeless shelter, library (school or public). Be sure to check on the need for books before planning to donate them to a specific place or organization. When the project is over, ask learners to fill out How Well Did It Go? (Handout Three) as an evaluation of the project.


Oral Report

Rubric Points Criteria

4: Speaks clearly, focuses on audience. Provides name of organization, where it began, reason for existence, year founded, Core Democratic Value (CDV) as well as if it exists today, and its governmental agency.

3: Speaks clearly, focuses on audience. States name of organization, CDV, and 3 of the remaining requirements.

2: Speaks clearly, focuses on audience. States name of organization, CDV and 2 of the remaining requirements.

1: States name of the organization, without a CDV but have at least 2 of the remaining requirements.