Exploring Community Needs

6, 7, 8

To have students understand and identify the needs of the community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo to Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify the needs of the community.
  • identify job opportunities of the community for each of the three business sectors.
  • analyze whether the needs of the community are being met.
  • The Classifieds (Handout One)
  • Community Needs Survey (Handout Two)
  • The classified section from several local newspapers (You may have students be responsible to bring these in.)
Home Connection 

Have students ask their parents what they feel the needs of the community are and whether or not they feel these needs are being met.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Have students create a list of all of the different occupations they have considered during their lifetime. Ask them to think about why they may have chosen that career and how it might be a benefit to society.

  2. Distribute the classified section of the papers. Have students identify job opportunities in each of the four sectors. (Household childcare or cleaning positions would be considered sector four). Using The Classifieds (Handout One) have students list positions in each of the four sectors. Discuss what the benefits of working in the different sectors would be. What are the opportunity costs of working in each sector, that is, what are you giving up to work in each sector?

  3. Distribute Community Needs Survey (Handout Two) to each student. Give the class enough time to complete their assessment of the community. Share student findings in a whole group. Create a bar graph, prioritizing community needs according to class results.

  4. Divide the class into teams, assigning each team one of the community needs from the bar graph. Using the information gathered in Lesson Two, have students match the needs on the graph with sectors and organizations that are helping to meet the needs.

  5. Using the survey, have students identify the community needs which are not being met or are under-served. What needs are not being met by the government? Are there obvious advantages of having nonprofits in the community? Break students back into their teams. Have each team choose a need they feel is the highest priority. Have them brainstorm ways of addressing the community need.

  6. Ask students to prepare a letter to a local public official or the local newspaper, addressing the community need and possible solutions to the problem. The letter should address their stand on the issue, correlate to a core democratic value, and include specific information collected regarding the need. (You may choose to have students complete this activity by doing peer editing and taking the letters to final draft. The teacher and students can judge the letters according to form and content and decide which merit delivery.)


Student recording sheets and letters

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Give examples of needs not met by the government, business, or family sectors.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.14 Describe and give an example of needs not usually met by the government sector.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give examples of <i>opportunity cost</i> related to philanthropic giving by individuals and corporations.
      3. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how civil-society-sector giving can impact communities.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.