Connect the Links for a Strong Community (7th Grade)

6, 7, 8

Students gain awareness of the work of nonprofits and how they form to address issues that impact the common good. They learn more about one nonprofit and plan voluntary action to support its work through volunteering, donations, or advocacy. 

PrintOne 50-60 minute class period

The learner will:

  • recognize, define, and articulate the meaning of the term common good.
  • identify at least three (nonprofit) organizations in their community and articulate how these organizations help meet needs and promote the common good.
  • identify some current needs in the community.
  • connect current needs to the nonprofits that address them.
  • demonstrate how learners can work with these nonprofit organizations to meet current needs.
  • Access to play the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  • Class display of the lyrics of the song(s) or copied as handouts for students (See Bibliographical References)
  • A collection of pictures showing people helping others
  • Information about local nonprofit agencies and their mission statements from (Advanced Search on your town or city name), local phone books or Chamber of Commerce
  • Copies of Handout One: Our Local (Nonprofit) Organizations
Teacher Preparation 

Reading the book to the class, The Quilt Makers Journey by Jeff Brumbeau can also be used in the beginning of the class rather than using a song.


Give each student four sticky notes. On one of the sticky notes have the students write one or two words in response to the question, “How did you feel about participating in service prior to actually being involved?” On the second sticky note have the students write their response to the question, “How did you feel while being involved in service?” On the third sticky note, have the students respond to this question, “How did you feel after the service was over?” And on the fourth sticky note have the students respond to the question, “What could I do differently in the future?”  

Place the following headings on the display board: Before, During, After, Future. Have students come and place their sticky notes under the appropriate heading on the display board.  Allow time for them to walk around to view and read the comments of others. Encourage them to note similarities and differences.  Involve the class in a discussion using the prompt,”What did you learn from reading everyone’s comments?”



  1. Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the classroom, have one of the following songs playing in the background "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel, "If I Had a Hammer" by Peter, Paul and Mary, "He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother" by the Hollies or any song that has the lyrics about doing something for others or for the good of all.

  2. Have the lyrics of the song(s) you selected to play for the learners available for display for all to see. Discuss the meaning of the song(s) lyrics.

  3. Have the learners identify the values that this song(s) champions: truth, freedom of religion, political, economic and personal freedom, etc.

  4. Introduce the term, the common good, have the learners share what they think this term might mean.

  5. Define the term, the common good -- Involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all.

  6. Help the learners to see a connection between the song(s) lyrics and the definition of the common good.

  7. Ask the learners to form groups of three or four and distribute to each group one or two pictures of people helping others. Have each group decide how the picture is helping to promote the common good. Give each group an opportunity to show their pictures and share what they identified to be the common good being displayed in their pictures.

  8. Have the learners share areas of concern in their community that could benefit from people working to promote the common good.

  9. Share with the learners that while it is important that individually we do what we can to help promote the common good, there are also organizations that help to promote the common good and that working together with these organizations can result in a bigger impact on what needs to be done.

  10. Using local phone books, or a teacher created list of local (nonprofit) organizations (from, havethe groups of learners list and identify how local community (non-profit) organizations are promoting the common good by helping people- Handout One: Our Local (Non-Profit) Organizations.

  11. Using the information from Handout One hold a brainstorming session (Class Huddle Meeting) to determine how they might partner with one of these organizations to meet a community need for a service project.


The learners will be assessed based on their classroom participation, their identification and articulation of local neighborhood/community (nonprofits) organizations and the important role they play in promoting the common good, as well as their completed demonstration of how young people can be involved in helping these local community (nonprofits) organizations meet current needs.

Cross Curriculum 

Come to a class concensus about voluntary action to support a local nonprofit to address an identified need.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify how families contribute to the socialization of children.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify civil society organizations that protect and speak for minority viewpoints.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.13 Define and offer examples of <i>community/social capital</i> in the community.