Design of Our Own (A)

6, 7, 8

Learners will compare and contrast the contributions of the “community champion” nominees who have left a legacy that will benefit the common good and last beyond their own lives. The nominees will be in three categories of giving to examine: family, school and the local community. With the Nobel Peace Prize as an example of an award given in perpetuity for improvements to the common good, the students, as a group, will create an award and/or prize that recognizes the nominees’ contribution. This lesson will provide students the opportunity to understand the structure of the community foundation in their community as well as its role in perpetuating an endowment for benevolent projects to benefit the future of the community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintFour Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • recognize values that best reflect the good of the community.
  • explain the structure and function of the local community foundation.
  • explain the role of altruism in individuals who champion causes which add to the fabric of the community.
  • use appropriate materials and processes to effectively communicate respect for community champions.
  • Application for funding from the local community foundation
  • Supplies, as decided by the students, for the diploma, prize or award
  • Student copies of Compare and Contrast the Community Champions (Attachment One)
  • Artisan Invitation (Attachment Two)
  • Community Foundation Invitation (Attachment Three)
  • Student copies of Analysis of a Work of ArtA Design of Our Own (Attachment Four)
  • Student copies of Community FoundationSaving for the Common Good (Attachment Five)
Home Connection 

There are two options for this lesson plan. The first option: The student asks his/her parent/guardian to see any family awards, ribbons, medals or other artifacts of achievement. The student will discuss with his/her family members, the significance of the artifact, its meaning and design.

The second option: The student contacts his/her grandparent or other older relative or friend of the family (from the community). Together, the student and elder will discuss the history of the older buildings in the community. If there are no older buildings, the two can discuss other monuments or structures that are meant to last into the next generation. The topics to discuss include: who paid for the building or structure, what was the reason it was built, how does the community maintain the integrity of the structure and plan for its future? (Teacher Note: Each individual teacher should determine the appropriateness of these activities for his/her particular students and parent/caregivers.)

  • Spinelli, Eileen. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1991. ISBN: 0689718721.

  • Youth as Philanthropists Training Archive Web Page, <>.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    (A day ahead) Ask the students to bring in a prize, ribbon, certificate of achievement or award of their own or of a family member that is meaningful to the student. The students will share thoughts about the significance of his/her memento.

    Teacher note: There may be some students who have not won a prize or ribbon. It would be entirely suitable (in keeping with the lesson) to substitute a parent or other relative’s memento, with permission. You may wish to suggest that the student may substitute a picture or written description of the memento to avoid breakage or loss.

    If this is not possible they may bring in information to share about someone who received an award, such as an article about a sports award.

    Day One:

  2. Using the names of community champions generated from their homework the previous day, the students should brainstorm a list of the winning qualities of the nominees. Direct students to verbally share their insights about their chosen nominee, including, if possible, why the person chose to take the course of action. The following information should be shared: the cause, the nominee’s achievements for the cause, the amount of time devoted to the cause and the impact of the cause on the community. Then have the students select, from the class list, the values that best reflect the good of the community. The nominees will be in three categories of giving: family, school and the local community.

  3. Compare and contrast the qualities of the nominees according to the criteria listed in Compare and Contrast the Community Champions (Attachment One).

  4. Day Two:

  5. Read the book, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, to the class. The book describes a gift that Mr. Hatch receives which triggers an incredible flow of altruistic acts. The book has a surprising ending. The students will be inspired by the watershed created by one act of kindness. Discuss the good that can come from community members receiving recognition (or acts of kindness).

  6. The students, as a group, will create an award and/or prize that recognizes the nominees’ contribution. Assist the students in selecting an artisan (college or high school art teacher or senior student) to come to the class to assist the students in creating an original award. (Teacher Note: See Artisan Invitation (Attachment Two) for a sample written invitation that can be printed on school letterhead and sent to the artisan explaining the project.)

  7. Share the specifics of the Nobel Peace Prize medallion (see Bibliographical References). The discussion should include how the medal was designed, how it is made and awarded. Review information about Nobel’s motivation in the design of the award. Discuss how a logo can represent many values for a group or organization.

  8. Allow the artisan (or other creator) to lead the students in a consideration of different potential award media or types.

  9. Day Three:

  10. Distribute Analysis of a Work of Art?A Design of Our Own (Attachment Four). Go over it with the learners and assign them the task of creating an award which will reflect their interpretation of the values reflecting the common good.

  11. Note to Teacher: At this point in the unit, the students have discussed the virtues and values of previous Nobel Peace Prize winners and compared and contrasted the virtues of the community champion nominees. Each student should create his/her own rendition of an award or prize to be awarded to the winning community champion. The students will vote on the final prize or award for finalization prior to the award celebration which takes place in Lesson Four: A Breakfast for Champions.

    Day Four:

  12. Invite a representative of the local community foundation to visit the class.

  13. (Teacher Note: See Community Foundation Invitation [Attachment Three] for a sample invitation to send on school letterhead to the local community foundation representative. The letter describes the project and the details of the proposed classroom discussion. The teacher can check to see if there is a foundation that serves the school’s community by contacting the Chamber of Commerce or consulting the phone book or reference librarian.)

    Have the representative talk with the students about:

  14. the mission of the community foundation.

  15. the power of collecting and investing money for the future common good of the community.

  16. the following terms: altruism, compounding interest, contributions, donate, giving, grant, investment, legacy, motivation for giving, perpetuity, volunteer.

  17. the concept of an endowment for the future and how the principal is saved and how the earnings can be spent.

  18. If possible, let the community foundation representative brainstorm a list of ways the students could create a plan to have the learners’ community award continue in perpetuity. (It may be likely that the learners will be able to apply for a grant from the community foundation for this purpose.)

  19. For homework, distribute Community Foundation--Saving for the Common Good (Attachment Five). Ask the learners to reflect on what they learned and complete the exercise.


Day One: Students verbally share their insights about their chosen nominee. As the students verbally share their findings, the teacher may evaluate the student work based on Compare and Contrast the Community Champions (Attachment One). Days Two and Three: Working with a community artisan, each student will create an award for the winning champion of the common good. The teacher may evaluate the student submissions on the basis of the rubric Analysis of a Work of Art--A Design of Our Own (Attachment Four). Day Four: The representative of the community foundation will help the students learn important concepts relating to philanthropy and community benevolence. The students will reflect on that learning by completing Community Foundation--Saving for the Common Good (Attachment Five).

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Identify significant contributions to society that come from the civil society sector.
    2. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Name a local community foundation and describe its broad purpose.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Define perpetuity and endowment related to the role of foundations.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how civil-society-sector giving can impact communities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.