Building Trust

6, 7, 8

Learners play a game that helps them identify qualities in others that make them trustworthy.

PrintOne 20-minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • articulate the traits and actions of someone who builds trust.
  • rope or cones to mark off a small territory the size of a bedroom
  • small objects to serve as obstacles (balls, cones, bowling pins, shoes)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the learners to think of someone they trust. This may be someone they could tell a secret to or someone they would trust to be there if they were in danger or trouble. Discuss "What does that person do or say that makes them trustworthy?" 

  2. Play a partnership game called Obstacle Course that depends on trust. Working in pairs, one person is blindfolded and the other person gives directions to help them cross without touching an obstacle.

    Set up a playing field (outside or inside) with ropes or cones. Scatter objects around inside the playing field (bowling pins, cones, shoes). If the person in the field touches an obstacle, they have to go back to the beginning and start over. More obstacles on the field make it more difficult. 

    The partners may communicate before they start about strategies or signals and words to use to make their expectations clear.

    Variation One: Make the game more difficult by making a rule that the blindfolded person cannot talk while in the field.

    Variation Two: Have several teams working their way across the playing field at the same time. This creates more noise and confusion but forces the teams to communicate about unique signals and alerts.

  3. Discuss the role of trust in making the partners successful in the game. Ask the following discussion questions: What made you feel more trusting of your partner? (communication, helpfulness) What made you feel less trusting of your partner? (joking, neglect)

  4. Work together to define trustworthy.

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.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.