Attributes of a Civil Society

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners define justice, kindness, peace, and tolerance and describe the importance of these attributes of a civil society. They look for examples in the media and brainstorm how they can promote these attributes in their school, community, and the world. 

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PrintOne Fifty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define vocabulary of justice and peace and role-play scenarios related to those words
  • identify these concepts in the news and brainstorm actions they can take to promote justice and peace.
  • student copies of vocabulary handout and current events assignment
  • teacher copy of the role-play suggestions handout
  • Internet access to view news articles
  • chart paper to hang around the classroom

Reflect and then share with the class how justice, kindness, peace, and tolerance are applied at your school. Is your school doing a good job in these areas? Are there areas that you feel could be improved upon?


Related Resources: Southern Poverty Law Center


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    On four pieces of chart paper, hung around the room, write the words justice, kindness, peace, and tolerance. Give each student a copy of the vocabulary handout and a magic marker.  Students read the definitions of these words and then write their own thoughts on these ideas upon the boards. Encourage students to write comments on what others wrote. After ten minutes, take the chart paper down, bring it to the front of the class and hold a discussion and come to a consensus on a class definition. Have a student write the class definition on a separate sheet of chart paper. 

  2. Divide the class into four groups, based upon these four words. Give students the role-play suggestions for their term. Ask them to create a 60-second role-play on their word. This can be reenacting what’s on the sheet, reenacting a historical event that demonstrates the concept, or something new and creative that the group comes up with. Nominate one individual to speak on behalf of the group and field questions from the other students. 

  3. When all four groups have presented, bring it together as a whole class and discuss why justice, kindness, peace, and tolerance are necessary attributes in a civil society. 

  4. Students will then be issued worksheets in order to research news articles from reputable sources that reflect or illustrate promoting justice, kindness, peace, and/or tolerance. This can be done using Chromebooks in the classroom, going to a computer lab, or using their phones. They may look to social media and groups that try to promote positive causes. Students will fill in the sheet and turn it in for an assessment grade. 

  5. These sheets can be used to set a focus for a service project. Extensions from today’s activity may include organizing and enacting a plan to improve their school or community

Cross Curriculum 

Students take action to promote justic, kindness, tolerance, and peace in their school, community, or the world.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. 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.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss civic virtue and its role in democracy.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.