Assessing Needs through a Survey

3, 4, 5

Using a brainstormed list of health and safety issue areas, participants design and implement a survey. They poll a group of friends and family to determine what health and safety issues are of greatest concern in their community. 

PrintOne 45-minute session, plus time to conduct a survey
  • discuss health and safety issues
  • identify a community need through organized polling
  • Optional: create a list of health and safety issues from the first lesson in this unit (from the exit tickets)
  • Word cloud software or mentimeter for virtual word cloud generation
Teacher Preparation 

From the exit ticket choices from the first lesson in this unit, input the words into a wordle.  Otherwise, be prepared to help the group quickly identify terms/ideas associated with health and safety. 

Here are the health and safety concerns of one group:
hunger in the community, equal treatment, bicycle safety, tobacco use, transportation, care for the elderly, bullying, safety of homes, and access to a doctor/dentist

  • advocacy: (n) the act or process of writing or speaking in favor of, or supporting, a cause
  • community: A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a group having common interests and goals
  • donation: a gift of money, food, clothes or other needed items (treasure)
  • health: a person's mental or physical condition
  • philanthropy: the giving and sharing of one's time, talent or treasure; voluntary action for the common good
  • safety: freedom from danger, risk or injury
  • service: (n) help given to others; useful work for which one is not paid – service (v) to repair; to furnish a service to something or someone
  • service-learning: connecting the service experience to the school curriculum and requiring students to reflect on the meaning they attach to the service they performed
Home Connection 

Participants use the surveys they create to poll their family members, members of the groups they are in, and friends about the health and safety concerns that matter most to them. They will explain and read survey options to the people they poll. They will collect tallies and bring the surveys back to the group for analysis.

Bibliography for virtual meeting based word clouds


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Discuss, "Why is the health and safety of our friends and family important to us?" Discuss why we care about the welfare of others, not just ourselves. Talk about what health and safety issues are and then brainstorm a list of issues related to health and safety: hunger in the community, equal treatment, bicycle safety, tobacco use, transportation, care for the elderly, bullying, safety of homes, disease prevention and cure, and access to a doctor/dentist

    Use the website to generate an online word cloud of the most important health and safety issues. Participants may write more than one issue they want us to solve as a community for the good of all.  Generate the word cloud and discuss what shows up.

    As you show the "word cloud" of their top choices, say "These are the issues you targeted as a whole group." Explain that the largest words are the ones of concern to the most of them. Look over the words and discuss what this means. Do some issues rise to the top for the group to spend time on?

  2. Review the vocabulary definitions related to health and safety above. Discuss whether health and safety are needs or wants.

  3. Participants move into breakout groups of 3-5 to discuss which issues from the word cloud are most important to them, and brainstorm specific ideas that may serve as first steps toward healing, which may look like volunteering at a health fair, donating bike helmets that you have outgrown, teaching younger students about a safety issue, or advocating for healthy eating through a skit." One person is designated as a recorder who shares their ideas with the whole group when they come back together.

  4. Come back together as a whole group and have the reporter share some of their team's ideas and concerns. Keep a list of the issues/ideas shared and use tallies when groups report the same ideas or concerns. 

    Talk about what issues came up most often, and discuss whether these are the concerns of all citizens. Tell them they can find out what others care about or are interested in addressing through a survey. Together, narrow down their lists to the top 7-10 issues or actions they care about and make a list they can all share with others to identify which issues and ideas are of highest concern. 

  5. Explain that a survey is a tool used to gather data from a large group of people. It is important when doing service to know that the service is needed in the community.

    Tell them that they are going to collect data from a variety of people in the community (not just our group) to find out what the community is interested in healing related to health and safety. Talk about who they can survey, and discuss how to introduce the survey, as well as safety in collecting information, such as not going to a stranger's house without a guardian's help and permission. Refine the survey language so it is clear to the people they survey what they are participating in and what the choices are. 

    Tell them they will draw conclusions from the data they collect in order to design and begin their "philanthropic project."

  6. Before you meet again, the homework is to collect survey tallies from people in their network, including people of all ages. They make tally marks for the choices of the people they poll.


Conduct a "quick write" in which youth describe the most important issue to them.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.1 Explore and research issues and present solutions using communication tools.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.