Finding Self in Community (11th Grade)

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners explore the vocabulary of beliefs and values and relate that to roles they play in community. 


Print One Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • identify roles of self within the multiple communities of the learner.
  • define and use appropriate vocabulary of values/beliefs.
  • identify values/belief that influence roles of self in communities.
  • explore and compare values/beliefs that motivate others to action.
  • identify personal values/beliefs as influencers of community involvement.
  • Handout One: Values & Beliefs Vocabulary Matching Game
  • Handout Two: Values & Beliefs Vocabulary Matching Quiz - Answers
  • Handout Three: Compare Roles and Values Guide

Tell the students that each of us has a personal style when it comes to making decisions.  Have the students select from among the animal character-types listed below that most closely resembles them when deciding whether to involve themselves in a project or activity:

  • A turtle: Usually I’m not too willing to stick out my neck
  • A possum: Usually when I’m asked to something I play “dead”
  • A porcupine: Usually when I’m asked to do something, I get “bristle-ly”
  • A snail: Usually when I’m asked to do something I am pretty slow to commit.
  • A sheep: Usually I just follow the crowd and do what they do.
  • A St. Bernard: Usually, I’m pretty helpful but only when I’m really needed.
  • A Giraffe: Usually, I need to see the big picture before I am willing to commit
  • A Hawk: Usually I have excellent instincts and hit the target on the fly.
  • An Owl: Usually, I weigh the pros and cons before I act
  • A Mule: Usually, I need someone to force me to do something
  • A Beaver: Usually I just dive in and go to work before I’m even told to do so.
  • An Ostrich: Usually I bury my head hoping I won’t have to decide.

Have the students group themselves by their selected involvement style. (NOTE: Include a miscellaneous group for those without a match or be prepared to mix and match groups so no one is alone.)  In these groupings, have the students share what it’s like for them to make decisions using their involvement style and under what conditions might they change their typical involvement style and why? Reconvene the class and lead a discussion concerning the involvement styles of the students when making the decision to become involved in this service project? How was their involvement style typical of or different from their usual involvement style? For each involvement style, what might be the best approach to take when trying to promoting this service project next year?



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the words role and community on the board and ask students to provide definitions (role: The place/position or part one plays in an activity or event) (community: A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a class or group having common interests and likes -- may be large or as small as a family).

    Ask, "In the communities you belong to, what roles do you play?" and have a few people share what roles they are to get others thinking (son, sister, leader, dog sitter). Then ask for a prediction: "How many different roles do you think we colletively play?" Write some of their estimated numbers of roles on one side of the board. Have each student brainstorm on paper all the different roles they play in the various communities to which they belong, such as: son/daughter, dog walker, dishwasher, housekeeper, student, football player, cook, etc.). Give them a few minutes to write quietly.

  2. Ask students how many roles they brainstormed by saying, "who has more than ___?" until you get the highest number. Then say, "I'm sure there are duplicates. Who can suggest a method to determine how many different roles we came up with collectively?" Come to an agreement on which method to try.

  3. Use one or two of their suggested methods and compare the determined number to the estimate (above) and discuss whether they were surprised, have they captured them all, and other questions. Discuss what they learned from participating in this exercise.

  4. Place the learners in groups of three and have them work together to complete the Values and Beliefs Vocabulary Matching Game (Handout One) using what they already know and dictionaries

    Give them a 15-minute time limit.

  5. Discuss the answers as a whole class. Clarify and give examples for any definitions that may have been a problem for the students. (Handout Two: Vocabulary Answer Key) Ask students to correct their game sheets if necessary.

  6. Ask the learners to look at the various roles they cited and instruct them to identify two or three words from the Values and Beliefs Vocabulary Matching Game that they feel might apply to each of the roles he/she identified (example: son/daughter values/beliefs might be pride, welfare).

  7. Learners will complete the Compare Roles and Values Guide (Handout Three). Learners should do a minimum of four situations/roles with each of the columns completed.

  8. Before the class period ends, ask students to reflect about how their individual and shared values and beliefs have their origins in the communities to which they belong and also serve as motivating factors for continued community involvement.

Cross Curriculum 

Students select one of the communities brainstormed and determine a way to take action to improve the community through volunteering.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Discuss the role of family life in shaping a democratic society.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.