Assessing Needs through a Survey

3, 4, 5

Students create lists of health and safety issues. Through cooperative methods, the learners construct an original health and safety survey of issues affecting their community. 

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Class Period; Can build on from prior unit lesson

The learner will:

  • describe benefits of group cooperation.
  • identify a community need.
  • explore how one individual or group can make a difference by volunteering, donating, educating, or advocating.
  • Wordle projected onto screen
  • group copies of Handout: Health and Safety Concerns
  • teacher copy of Handout : Health and Safety Survey Template (to be filled in with issue areas determined by class and then copied for each student). See Handout  for a sample.
Teacher Preparation 

If the previous lesson in this unit was done, input the words into a wordle.  Otherwise, be prepared to help students quickly identify terms/ideas associated with health and safety.  The Handout: Health and Safety Survey Sample can help

  • 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 

Learners take home student-created surveys. They will explain and read surveys to family members. They will collect tallies and bring the surveys back to school the following day.


Science Made Simple  

Trigon Health Insurance commercial

Wordle (word cloud)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Just for fun, show the clip (Trigon Health Insurance commercial). Say, "Good health means nutrition and good food choices. (Optional: Yesterday, we created a visual aid to display the topics you associated with health and safety." As you show the "word cloud" to students, say "These are the issues you targeted as a whole group."Explain that the largest words are the ones used most often and are therefore the issues the groups have in common. Have students look over the words, and call on students to read a few of the largest words.)

  2. Review the definitions of health and safety. Ask students, "What are the specific health and safety concerns that you see at school and at home?" (Tell students to refer to the Wordle to get ideas.)

  3. Students move into groups of 3-5 to discuss and record specific issues and concerns on the Health and Safety Concerns handout.

  4. Come back together as a whole group and have each student read one of their team's concerns. Write down each issue area (bike safety, tobacco use, access to healthcare, nutrition)on the board (or through a projector). Then write the top eight issue areas on Handout Two: Health and Safety Survey Template.

  5. Once all ideas are collected, tell the students that they have just created categories for a survey. Explain that a survey is a tool used to gather data from a large group of people.Tell them that they are going to collect data from a variety of people in the community (not just our class) to find out the community's greatest needs related to health and safety. Tell them they will draw conclusions from the data in order to begin their "philanthropic project."

  6. Say, "Philanthropy isn't just giving money. Giving and serving for the common good 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. (Forms of service: volunteering directly or indirectly with those you serve, donations of treasure, education or advocacy)

  7. Ending the session (if you have had time to print copies of the survey), pass out a survey to each student. Review together. Have students put a tally mark on one issue that they feel is the most important for their community. Their homework this evening is to read the choices and explain each one to family members (and community friends). Their family members each make a tally mark by the issue they feel is the most important. Students will return their surveys to school the next day. (To get a more representative sample, you may wish to delegate students to set up a table in the cafeteria during lunch, in the morning, or after school in order to get other students' perspectives. The teacher could also take some surveys to a neighborhood business and ask owners if their customers could participate.)


Conduct a "quick write" in which students 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.