Doing the Right Thing

6, 7, 8

Learners identify the motivations of Jackie Robinson. They discuss what could make some people do something difficult even when they are afraid.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • identify times when doing the right thing is difficult.
  • discuss the motivations of Jackie Robinson to do the difficult thing.
  • identify personal motivations todo courageous acts.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Ask the learners to brainstorm examples of times people might choose not to do the right thing because they are afraid or because it might not be cool (for example, reminding someone to recycle). Display this list for the remainder of the unit.

  2. Remind the learners about Jackie Robinson's courage. He was a proud and competitive man who had to do the right thing when all the pressure was for him to back down.

  3. Ask the students to think about what motivated him to show that level of courage. Then have them pair up to discuss this question with a partner. After a few minutes of partner discussions, ask for volunteers to share with the whole class what drove Jackie Robinson to show incredible courage.

  4. Ask students to write the key ideas from the discussion on a display board. (Examples: He was acting in the interest of the common good. He thought he could endure the insults for three years because the outcome was worth it. He wanted to play ball because it was his passion and strength. He felt it was the right thing to do.)

  5. Ask the students to star the key ideas that they think they could do. What motivations of Jackie Robinson's do they share? What would motivate them to do something difficult even though they are afraid?

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.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.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. 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.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      3. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      4. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.