PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • identify people he or she trusts.
  • play a game in which partners depend on each other.
  • brainstorm actions that build trust and actions that break down trust.
  • define trustworthy.

chart paper and markers

Teacher Preparation 

Some words that describe a trustworthy person: honest, reliable, loyal, fair, humble, cooperative, promotes understanding and communicator.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

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

  2. Do "trust leans." Students pair up with another student who is about the same size; usually same gender is more comfortable for this age. One student is the leaner, and the other is the catcher. The leaner holds his or her body stiff with arms crossed. The catcher puts both his or her hands on the back of the leaner and puts one leg forward as support. The leaner asks the catcher if he or she is ready. When the catcher says, "I'm ready," the leaner leans back into the catcher, keeping his or her legs and body straight (not bending knees). The leaner stays like that for at least a minute. If there is trust, the leaner or catcher may ask the other if they want to try a deeper lean. When one partner is ready to stop, the catcher slowly helps the leaner stand up straight again. Note: Some students may not be comfortable with this activity and may be given the option to pass.)

  3. Discuss the experience. Ask the following questions: What made you feel more trusting of your partner? (communication, strong support) What made you feel less trusting of your partner? (jokes, sudden movements, lack of attention)

  4. Tell the students that our actions with other people communicate whether we are trustworthy--someone in whom they want to place their trust. Discuss ways we can show others we are trustworthy.

  5. Write the following sentence starter on the board. Have the students brainstorm definitions of trustworthy that could finish the sentence: A trustworthy person is someone who _________________________. (Examples: you can depend on; you feel comfortable with; does what she says she will do; stands by his friends; is loyal) Write these definitions on a chart paper and display in the room for the remainder of the unit.

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.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
  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.