What Can We Do?
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss why some animals and humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Discuss examples of groups denied their rights in history.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.

This lesson challenges learners to think of their personal responsibility to act when they observe unfair treatment. They respond to a scenario and work in small groups to make a plan of action in a specific situation of their choosing.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • collaborate on writing an action plan for responding to a specific unfair situation.

group copies of the handout below What Can We Do?

  1. Anticipatory Set

    Tell or read about this story of J.D. and Ethel Shelley. In the 1940s, the Shelleys were not able to buy a house in St. Louis because many houses had a covenant that restricted houses from being sold to people of color. They sought help from a realtor who arranged for a white woman to buy a house with their money, and they moved in. This started the lawsuit that led to a Supreme Court decision and the Fair Housing Act that bans all forms of discrimination in housing. Discuss the courage of the Shelleys, the realtor, and the others who helped when they saw an unfair situation. 

  2. Learners turn to a neighbor and tell about a time they saw an unfair situation (such as bullying or someone getting an advantage). Allow time for discussion. Caution them not to mention specific names during the discussion.

  3. Ask them to think about how they can respond to unfair treatment in different situations.

    They can reflect silently on how they think they would respond if they saw someone being bullied. What if you heard about unfair laws or treatment in the community or in another country?

  4. Move the learners into groups of three to five students. Give each group a copy of the handout What Can We Do? They work in groups to complete the activity, focusing on creative ways to respond when something isn't fair. They write a plan to respond to a specific situation of their choosing.

  5. Discuss whose responsibility it is to change unfair rules, laws, and practices.