Defining Caring

6, 7, 8

This lesson leads the learners to investigate and expand their understanding of caring and to determine those things or people that they care about.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 20-minute class period

The learner will:

  • define caring and ways that people demonstrate caring.
  • relate altruism, empathy and selflessness to caring.
  • list five things or people he or she cares about.
Home Connection 

Ask the learners to discuss five things or people that they care about with friends and family.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    In the previous lesson, the students identified the giraffe heroes as people who care. Ask the students for a couple examples of how these young people showed their caring (by giving, sharing, writing letters). Then ask them what these young people might have felt for the people or issues they cared for (concern, sympathy, desire to help, etc.).

  2. Ask the learners to brainstorm as many words as they can think of that are synonyms for care or caring or are ways that people demonstrate caring. They should think about "How do we care?"(Words like love, sympathy, concern, compassion, worry, concern, confrontation, etc.).Write the words in a display area. Save these words for use in Lesson Three.

  3. If the words altruism, empathy, and selflessness have not already been suggested by the learners, introduce and define the words as additional ways of caring:

  4. Altruism: selfless concern for the welfare of others

    Empathy: identification with and understanding of the feelings of another person

    Selflessness: putting others' needs before one's own

  5. Save these words in the display area also.

  6. Ask the learners to list in their journals five things or people (either individuals or groups) that they would "stick their necks out" for or that they "care" about (not necessarily in order of priority). See School/Home Connection for a homework extension.

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to

Philanthropy Framework

  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.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.