Primary Source? What is That? (9-12)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.12 Explain why private action is important to the protection of minority voices.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Analyze and synthesize information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to public policy. Discuss these issues evaluating the effects of individual actions on other people, the rule of law and ethical behavior.

The purpose of this lesson is for learners to identify and evaluate the use of primary sources to learn about our past. They will gain an understanding of how to analyze the information found within a primary source and distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Themes of philanthropy and philanthropic roles within the community in the Diary of Anne Frank will be analyzed and discussed. Learners will gain an understanding that they too have opportunities to leave accurate records of their lives for people in the future to explore.

PrintOne to Two Forty-Five to Fifty Minute Class Periods (or one block schedule session)

The learner will:

  • be able to define "primary source."
  • identify examples of primary sources.
  • define secondary sources and distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
  • develop definitions and examples of biography and autobiography.
  • gain an understanding of why primary sources are used in examining the past.
  • learn to determine the reliability/accuracy of a source
  • read and discuss entries from the Diary of Anne Frank and examine the roles of members of a community (focus on the philanthropic actions of the individuals mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary).
  • define philanthropy, role of the individual and community in philanthropic acts.
  • develop appropriate applicable vocabulary of philanthropy.

Altruism(n) Selfless concern for the welfare of others – altruist (n), altruistic (adj.), altruistically (adv.)civic responsibility(n) A person’s duty or obligation to their community as a citizen.

Community(n, pl. –ies) A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a class or group having common interests and likes.

Democracy(n, pl., -cies) A form of government exercised either directly by the people or through their elected representatives; rule by the majority; the practice of legal, political, or social equality; human rights(n) Inalienable moral entitlement attached to all persons equally, simply by virtue of their humanity, irrespective of race, nationality, or membership of any particular social group. They specify the minimum conditions for human dignity and a tolerable life.

Philanthropy(n) 1. The giving of one’s time, talent or treasure for the sake of another- or for the common good – Robert Payton,

2. Voluntary action for the public good -Robert Payton,

3. Voluntary giving, voluntary service, and voluntary association, primarily for the benefit of others – Robert Payton,

4. Giving and serving –Richard J. Bentley and Luana G. Nissan,

5. Active effort to promote human welfare,

6. A tradition, a spirit, and a sector of society – Maurice G. Gurin and Jon Van Tilsocial action(n) Persons in the process of doing or acting for the general welfare of alluniversal values(n) A common set of morals found to be applicable world wide.

  • examine how s/he can leave an accurate record of his/her life.
  • explore how the preservation of family and personal information is a form of philanthropy.
  • Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.The story of a young Jewish girl during World War II. The book is the diary Ann kept while in hiding from the Nazis.
  • "Primary Sources" handout (Handout One)
  • "Your History" worksheet (Handout Two)
  • United States History provided by the school district
Home Connection: 

Student Homework: "Your History" worksheet (Handout Two).


Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    The lesson will begin with the teacher handing out small strips of paper to the learners. The learners will be asked to write down what they think is the definition of a primary source. They will also write down an example of a primary source.

    The teacher will collect the strips of paper. The teacher will read the learners’ definitions and examples to the class. A student volunteer will write the various examples on the chalkboard.Discuss the examples given during the Anticipatory Set activity.

  2. Provide the definition of a primary source: "a document or physical object that was created during the time period being studied."

  3. Pass out the "Primary Sources" handout (Handout One). Have learners take the document home and share it with their parent/guardian as they write their sentences.

  4. Talk about the use of each example as a primary source.

  5. Break up into small groups (3-4 learners).

  6. Give each group an entry from the Diary of Anne Frank.

  7. Explain that this is a primary source, just as their own personal diary if they keep one. Ask the learners to give an example of what would constitute a secondary source about Anne Frank.

  8. Define biography and autobiography.

  9. Each group will choose a reader to read their entry out loud to the group.

  10. Each group will analyze the information uncovered in the entry and enter a summary of each reading into a journal.

  11. Each group will discuss the roles of the individuals mentioned in each entry (focusing on philanthropic actions of the individuals).

  12. Discuss whether this could ever happen in an open democratic society.

  13. Discuss a closed totalitarian society.

  14. Have the learners make a connection between altruism and the actions of individuals in the Diary of AnneFrank.

  15. Identify universal values discovered with emphasis on human rights.

  16. Ask about human rights issues today and list those mentioned.

  17. The class will come together as a whole.

  18. Each group will share what they learned from their entry with the rest of the class.

  19. Have learners compile a list of acts of philanthropy discovered in Diary of Anne Frank. Clarify giving time, talent and treasure as applicable to examples from Diary of Anne Frank

  20. Ask learners to identify examples of philanthropy within their community and nation.


Group presentations about the information discovered by reading the entry from the Diary of Anne Frank. The "Your History" worksheet (Handout Two) Have the learners write a three-paragraph essay, using a minimum of four concepts from the list above and connecting those to examples from Diary of Anne Frank.