Name Game (The)

3, 4, 5

Learners will find examples in literature of the simple act of doing something for the common good. They will research examples of philanthropists in colonial America.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify an act of philanthropy in literature.
  • identify and illustrate four examples of philanthropy in colonial America.
  • Copy of Miss Rumphius
  • List of names from the handout Colonial Philanthropists (see Handout One) on the board (the information is for teacher background)
  • What Did You Do? (see Handout Two)
  • Internet access
  • Posterboards and colored pencils, markers, pencils, and blank paper

America's Story click on "Jump Back in Time," then "Colonial America (1492-1763)."

Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. New York: Penguin Pulham Books for Young Readers, 1985. ISBN 0140505393.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask learners to close their eyes and visualize someone who tries to make the world a more beautiful place. Ask volunteers to share their examples.

    Day One:

  2. Read Miss Rumphius. (A young girl grows up by the sea with her grandfather and promises to do three things before retiring with a home of her own. One of the things is to do something to make the world beautiful.) After reading, ask: "How did she make the world more beautiful?" "Why do you think that it is good to make life better for others?"

  3. Explain that before the Revolutionary War, there were individuals who saw a need in their communities and decided to do something about those needs. Sometimes organizations were formed as a result of events that prompted their formation. Some organizations were started by individuals while others were developed through the joint efforts of several people in the community. In either case, all were working for the betterment of their communities, that is, for the common good. Review the meaning of the term.

  4. List the names from the handout Colonial Philanthropists (Handout One) and tell students to research the persons on the list who lived during colonial times and uncover what they did to make life in the community better. Learners should feel free to add to the list of names as long as additional examples fit the time period before 1763.

  5. On the board write:

    • (person + philanthropic wish = act to improve the common good)
    • Miss Rumphius + make the world more beautiful = planted lupines
    • the philanthropist + wants to help the community = establish an organization or foundation or contribute to the common good This is the formula learners should remember to uncover information about individuals who practiced doing good for the benefit of all.
  6. Distribute What Did You Do? (Handout Two). As learners discover more about the individuals or groups, have them fill in the chart. Allow group work of two or three learners for the remainder of the period.

  7. Day Two:

  8. Review the previous day's explorations by asking learners to share some of the things they were able to find. Allow five to ten minutes for this exchange while taking notes on chart paper to be used as a reference for the rest of the lesson.

  9. Explain that learners will use the collected information to create a poster celebrating what they learned. Distribute paper and supplies. Tell the learners to first plan how they want the finished product to look. Explain that there should be a picture, the name of the person or organization and the benefit for society. Once learners have completed their mock up, they should come to you to select a posterboard for the final product.


The poster will serve as the assessment.

Poster Rubric:

4 points

Includes a picture that conveys the meaning of the organization or person, the name of the organization or person, and the benefits for society. Spelling is correct and the poster is neat and attractive.

3 points

Includes picture and three vital elements but has misspellings or is not neat.

2 points

Includes picture and two of the vital elements.

1 point

Includes picture and one of the vital elements

0 point

There is no attempt to include any elements of the task.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.6 Trace the historic roots of philanthropy in the nation's history.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.