Trust Leans

6, 7, 8

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

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • identify actions that build trust and actions that break down trust.
Teacher Preparation 

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


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Our actions with other people communicate whether we are trustworthy, or someone in whom they want to place their trust. Discuss ways we can show others we are trustworthy.

  2. Pair up learners so they can practice developing trust in one another with "trust leans." One person holds their body stiffly with arms crossed. The other person puts both 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 their legs and body straight (not bending knees). The leaner stays like that for at least a minute. They may communicate to build trust.

  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. Write the following sentence fragment as a discussion starter: A trustworthy person is someone who _________________________. Write some of the answers on a chart for reference.

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.