What My Community Needs

6, 7, 8

Students analyze survey results, choose a community health need, and design a service project to address it.

PrintTwo 45-Minute Class Sessions, plus time for a project

Learners will:

  • analyze collected data.
  • work together to select a health need for a class service project.
  • outline and plan their service project.
  • identify potential sponsors and contributors from businesses, groups, and individuals.
  • carry out their planned service project.
  • reflect on the impact of the service project.
  • demonstrate the impact of their service project by summarizing data.
  • celebrate their hard work and efforts to make the community healthier.
  • advocate: (v) to speak or write in favor of; to support by argument
  • community needs: conditions that are essential to improving a community
  • persuade: to move someone to a new belief or action using argument
  • public service announcement: an advertisement broadcast on radio or television, intended to change attitudes by raising awareness about specific issues
  • service: useful work that one is not paid for
  • network: (V) to communicate with others to gain assistance or support
  • teamwork: cooperative work done by a team
  • media: tools used to deliver information or data, usually radio, TV, movies, magazines, newspaper, Facebook, and Twitter
  • sponsorship: one who assumes responsibility for another person or a group during a period of instruction
  • advertisement: a form of communication designed to persuade someone of something
  • health: the state of being in sound body, mind, and spirit
  • reflection: looking back at the experience, evaluating, and applying what is learned to future experiences
  • What did you think would be most difficult about planning your service project? How did you work together to overcome challenges?
  • Why would a local business or group want to sponsor, donate, or partner with our service project? How can we make our project attractive to them?


  1. Anticipatory Set: Tell the students that they will be planning a project in this lesson based on their surveys, and in this first session, they choose which health need to address in a service project to improve the health of our community.

  2. Play the game Would you Rather..... Give each student two choices to various questions; students must make and explain a choice. Examples of questions may include the following: Would you rather … be really hot or really cold? Eat bugs or eat dirt? Play basketball with your legs or soccer with your hands? Have a pet snake or a pet shark? Be a dancer or be a singer? Have a lot of money or a lot of friends? Have a big house or a nice car? Have super powers or be liked by everyone? Then discuss the benefits and challenges of decision-making with the following questions:

    • What makes decision making easy? What makes it difficult?
    • What will help us todecide which community need to address with our service project?
    • What will help us to make good decisions?
  3. Review all collected data from health surveys and interviews in the previous lesson. Record the results on chart paper or the board. Review each survey question, identify the need it addresses and record it. Use a simple tally chart to determine which needs were identified as most important.

  4. Circle or star the three most important community needs. By a show of hands, have students identify the topic they would most like to work on. 

  5. Group students who chose the same topic. Give them 10-15 minutes to meet and make a list of the reasons why they believe this topic is the one the class should pick.

  6. Have each group present their arguments for their chosen topics in an effort to persuade others.

    The groups may talk about ways to combine two of the top three choices and ways to address the issues identified.

  7. Take a vote to elect a topic for the service project. If there isn't a clear majority, repeat above activity for the top choices. Tell students to come up with better/more persuasive arguments for their favorite topic.

  8. Post a list of ways they can address a need: advocacy, fundraising, volunteering, letter-writing, working with a community partner. Students can start discussing what form the service project might take.

  9. Session Two

    Today students learn about planning a project for their selected issue area and how to take individual and group responsibility for its success. Have them preview ideas in the Kids in Action handout. You may use the IGNITE acronym (see handout) to guide planning and action.

  10. Depending on the chosen project, students may need to consider some or all of these components:

    • Project location
    • Partnerships and co-sponsors
    • Necessary supplies
    • Expenses and Fundraising
    • Transportation to and from project
    • Time needed to carry out the project
    • Permission slips from parents or guardians
  11. After brainstorming project needs, use the Service Project Planning Worksheet (handout) to write the goals and begin listing supplies needed and organizations the group might want to contact. (This worksheet may be copied onto a chart or projected on the board.)

    Ask students to volunteer for different roles in the project.

  12. Search your community and interview leaders to find what local nonprofits and programs are working on the issue you have identified. Learn more about the nonprofit, its work, and its needs. Contact them to find out what help they need and offer to help or work together on the issue.

  13. Design flyers or write letters to inform other students, parents, community members and the media about your project.

  14. Have students work independently or with one or two partners to create an item to inform the community about the service project. 

  15. Identify who will call or meet with specific potential partners, sponsors, and those willing to donate materials, time, and/or expertise. Have small teams of students volunteer to deliver letters, make phone calls, and lead meetings. 

  16. After planning, students carry out their service-learning project and collect pictures and record in journals. 

  17. Invite volunteers, community members, family, and other students to an event at which students share the results of their service project.

  18. Before the event, gather all the data, pictures, and examples of the classroom work done in preparation for the service action.

  19. Reflection questions:

    • Through this service project, what did you learn about yourself?
    • What did you learn about working with others?
    • What did you learn about your community and your relationship to the community?
    • What went well?
    • What would you change about this project?
    • How did your project contribute to improving the community’s health?
    • How will you use what you learned through this experience?
    • What surprised you most about yourself, others, or the community?
  20. Send thank you letters to anyone who donated time, money, and/or supplies, including local organizations, businesses, parents, teachers, and principals.

  21. Exit card: Have students write about their efficacy as assets to their community: What contribution did you make to the health of your community? What do you think you might do next?


Have each student complete the Service Project Checklist (Handout), adding notes to describe what they did for each part of the project.

Cross Curriculum 

Based on the needs assessment in the community, students design a service project that influences the health of the community. They plan the steps, carry out their plan, reflect on the process, and celebrate their success. The project grows out of the students' learning, interests, talents, and connections in the community.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      4. Benchmark MS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
      5. Benchmark MS.5 Articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.
      6. Benchmark MS.6 Describe the procedures and the importance of sensitivity to the people with whom students are working.