Research and Development

9, 10, 11, 12

In this lesson learners research the public and philanthropic life of the person to whom they have written, and prepare a three to five minute oral presentation based on their research.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • Access information on a philanthropist, using a variety of print and electronic sources.
  • Access to computer lab and media center
  • Student copies of Note Takers Guide (Handout One)
  • Student copies of Presentation Rubric (Handout Two)
  • Poster board, markers, scissors, glue, rulers


History Channel

Learning to Give [no longer available] 


  1. Anticipatory Set: Tell the learners to imagine that they are writing to one of the richest (or most famous) persons in the world. Ask them to close their eyes and "see" their letter being dumped out of a sack of one hundred letters, all waiting to be opened and read. Ask students to discuss what their letter would require in order to be taken seriously and answered.

  2. Day One: Collect the final draft of the letters and instruct students to use their first draft as a research tool. Ask students what questions they would add to the letter to create a more complete summary of the philanthropist's work. Have students add questions in which they are interested. Review definitions of "philanthropy" and "philanthropist." Explain the school/class procedure for using the media center/ computer lab.

  3. Distribute Note Taker's Guide (Handout One) and Presentation Rubric (Handout Two). Discuss each.

  4. Using the Note Taker's Guide, complete the research.

  5. Day Two: Review research procedures and presentation rubric. Ask about questions, suggestions, and problems in doing the research for this project. Have students continue to create their visual and oral presentations.


The teacher will visually check students' Note Takers Guide (Handout One), to be turned in at the project's end. The teacher will also discuss rubric guidelines as students are creating their presentations.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.