Don't Give Up

6, 7, 8

Students will define perseverance and identify the need to persevere in completing tasks. They will explore obstacles and excuses that deter perseverance.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • define perseverance
  • identify familiar difficult tasks and the obstacles or excuses that make it difficult to persevere.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Tell the students that they are going to get up and, as a group, run around the building without stopping or walking. Wait for a response from the students. Then listen to the excuses and obstacles they put up (I don't want to; I don't have the right shoes; I can't get sweaty; I just ate; Its too cold/hot). After listening to the excuses, tell the students that you didn't really intend to take them on a run (we don't have time), but wanted to hear the obstacles and excuses that surface when there is a challenging or difficult task.

  2. In a display area, write the word perseverance with the definition: "sticking to the task which needs to be done – even if we want to quit. Putting forth maximum effort to always do the best you can." Ask the students to identify what they think are the most important words in this definition and why. Underline or circle the words.

  3. Tell the students that when something is difficult, there will be many obstacles(something that gets in the way). Some of these obstacles may be real (lackof time) and some may be "excuses." Discuss some of the obstacles/excuses that were expressed by the group about the task of running around the building, and decide if they were real obstacles or excuses.

  4. Ask the students to name some difficult tasks they face regularly and identify the obstacles that go with the tasks (homework--too busy, not prepared; exercise--too busy, no equipment; conflict with friends--emotional reactions, fear of hurting or being hurt). List the obstacles they name and save for Lesson Two.

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.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.