Collecting for Animal Shelters

3, 4, 5

The learners will be introduced to the concepts of philanthropy, common good, volunteer and donate. Animal shelters need many volunteers and many items donated to help their organization run smoothly. Learners will participate in deciding what they wish to do in order to help the local shelter.

PrintOne 90 minute lesson and one 45 minute lesson with additional time needed for the service project.

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy, common good, volunteer, humane treatment, and donate.
  • share their knowledge of why animals are taken to shelters.
  • investigate the services provided by a shelter.
  • discuss some of the volunteer jobs that are available at shelters.
  • develop an understanding of what is necessary to have a successful Service Learning project: Investigation, planning, action, reflection, demonstration.
  • contact local shelters in their community or other animal welfare groups to determine needs of the organization.
  • plan and implement a service project to benefit an animal shelter.
  • Copy of the book: Buddy Unchained
  • Copies of Handout One: Rubric for Evaluating Posters
  • Poster paper and art materials
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Ask the learners to share the results of the collection activity with their family.


Bix, Daisy. Buddy Unchained. The Gryphon Press (2007).ISBN-10: 0940719037, ISBN-13: 978-0940719033

For additional related topics and materials:


  1. Anticipatory Set: Tell the learners that you are going to read a book to them that has an important message about animal shelters. The pictures add to the message. Ask the students to think about how a message can be enhanced through the artwork as you read the book. Tell them they might be able to use this understanding if they choose to create books that convey a message about animal welfare/shelters as a service option in later lessons. Read Buddy Unchained. Discuss the book including information and ideas generated during Lesson One about animal welfare and animal shelters. Discuss how the pictures emphasize the message. Ask the learners to share any conversations and reactions from family members generated by the Letter to Families taken home after Lesson One.

  2. List the following words on the board: philanthropy, common good, humane treatment, volunteer. Access the learners’ prior knowledge of these terms.

  3. Define philanthropy as the giving of time, talent or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good.

  4. Define common good as individuals having the commitment and motivation to work to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must give up their own time or money) for the greater benefit of all.

  5. Define volunteer as someone who does helpful work without receiving pay for it.

  6. Define humane treatment as having compassion for another, providing for basic needs and giving kind care.

  7. Drawing on information learned in Lesson One, ask learners to review the services that animal shelters provide to the community. Ask: “Why and how do you think animals end up in shelters? What do you think would happen in a community if there weren’t places like animal shelters?” (accept any reasonable responses).

  8. Tell the learners that because shelters provide services that benefit animals and also the community, they are to be acting for the common good.

  9. Ask: “Do any of you know someonewho works for an animal shelter?”Tell the learners that often people volunteer to help at shelters. They do many jobs like walking the animals, feeding, bathing and cleaning the animal’s living area. Sometimes people volunteer to donate items to a shelter that they need.

  10. Ask the learners to brainstorm what they can volunteer to do that would further animal welfare and help animal shelters. Remind them that in Lesson Two they learned that there are costs involved in doing this action for the common good.

  11. Suggest that the class might help in two ways: by donating needed items to a shelter and by educating others about the need for animal welfare and the work of shelters.

  12. Define the term donate as: to give or present something to someone or an organization that is in need.

  13. Ask the learners how they think they might be able to help a local shelter with needed items. Ask them to brainstorm a list of supplies that might be needed by shelters.They can draw on what they saw and heard during the reading of Buddy Unchained, on the research they did about local animal shelters in Lesson One, and on the costs associated with caring for animals from Lesson Two. Remind the learners that they should base their decision of what items to donate on a real need of their local shelter. Inform them of the need to consult the organization’s wish list so they will collect items the organization will use.

  14. Using a class meeting format, guide the learners in a discussion to plan what they will collect, from whom they will collect the items, the collection process, the length of time for the collection, where the items will be stored during the collection and how and to whom the items will be delivered.

  15. Arrange the learners into groups.Give each group a container and a piece of poster board. Tell them that they are going to decorate each container as well as make a poster that will be displayed in the school/community to advertise asking for items that will be donated to a local animal shelter. (See Attachment One: Rubric for Evaluating Posters.)

  16. Allow the time necessary for the containers and posters to be decorated. Remind them to include the date the drive will end on the poster.

  17. Place the containers and posters around the community/school according to the student created service plan.


Assessment for this lesson will be the teacher checking for understanding of the terms used in the lesson and participation in the class discussion and ensuring that all students will participate in the planning.

Cross Curriculum 

Learners will create and implement a plan to supply a shelter with some needed items and to share with their peers about animal welfare and animal shelters.

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.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 02. Careers In The Nonprofit Sector
      1. Benchmark E.1 Distinguish between volunteer and non-volunteer jobs.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    4. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a service plan.