Obstacles to Perseverance

6, 7, 8

 In this lesson, students brainstorm universal obstacles to completing tasks and/or meeting goals.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • recall obstacles faced by the colonists during the American Revolution.
  • compare and contrast obstacles to perserverance to uncover universal themes.
  • explore the difference between obstacles and excuses.
  • Definition of perseverance from Lesson One.
  • List of obstacles brainsotrmed in Lesson One.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Review the definition of perseverance from Lesson One. Remind the students that the American Revolution was a huge challenge for the colonists who had little chance of being successful against a world power. The colonists were faced with many obstacles that could have defeated their attempts to gain independence, but the Americans persevered. Ask the students to brainstorm obstacles the revolutionaries had to overcome in their quest for independence (fear of hanging for treason, lack of resources for army, smaller army than the British, early defeats in battle, lack of experience of enlisted soldiers, fighting a well trained army, doubt that they were doing the right thing, fear of stepping out on their own away from what was familiar, not everyone in the colonies supported independence, etc.). List the obstacles on a chart or display area.

  2. From the list of obstacles to the American Revolution, ask the students to identify words/phrases that may be universal obstacles that apply to other difficult situations (fear, lack of resources, lack of support, doubt, facing a strong opposition, not trained, moving out of familiar territory, etc.). Underline or highlight the words or phrases they identify.

  3. Now focus student attention on the list of obstacles they brainstormed in Lesson One. Do they want to add to, edit or delete any of these obstacles?

  4. Ask students to compare and contrast the lists of obstacles from the two lessons. What themes are the same on both lists? What conclusions can they draw about obstacles to perseverance from their comparison?

  5. Ask the students: Is there a difference between an obstacle and an excuse? If so, what is the difference? (An excuse is a reason not to do something, an obstacle is something that needs to be overcome to persevere.) Which of the obstacles on the lists might be considered excuses? Why?

  6. Write the obstacles on separate charts--one universal obstacle per chart--and display the charts around the room. In Lesson Four, students will be writing on these charts. (12" x 18" paper is adequate.)

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.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.