Cans Make a Difference

Grades: 
3, 4, 5

Students write to pen pals in a different community and discuss ideas related to a service project. The pen pals plan and monitor a canned-good donation project.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (plus a collection time)
Objectives 

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent or treasure for the common good.
  • plan a service-learning project with pen pals.
  • identify local charitable organization that collects canned and non-perishable foods.
  • graph the progress of the canned-good collection.
  • communicate with pen pals about the progress of the service project.
Materials 
  • Completed homework (see first bullet in Instructional Procedure)
  • Pencils and paper
  • Storage space (boxes)
  • Letter-writing materials
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Prior to this lesson, give a homework assignment to the students in which they research what charitable organizations they have associated with in their lives, what non-profit organizations their families support and what organizations they have heard about. They should bring their brainstormed list to class on this day and refer to it as they discuss possible projects for their service project.

Bibliography 

None for this lesson. 

Instructions

Print
  1. Anticipatory Set:Write the word philanthropy on the board. Review or introduce the definition of philanthropy (individuals and organizations providing their time, talent and/or treasures for the common good).

    Day One:

  2. Prior to this lesson, give a homework assignment to the students in which they research what charitable organizations have helped them in their lives, what non-profit organizations their families support, and what organizations they have heard about. They should bring their brainstormed list to class on this day and refer to it as they discuss possible projects for their service project.

  3. Brainstorm with the class, the ways that they can give time, talent or treasure for the common good. Send the brainstormed list to the pen pal classroom so they can add to the list and star the items that sound like possible projects to them. In Lesson Three: Long-Distance Service, the students will get the response from the pen pals and plan the project. (Each class might independently choose to do any of the brainstormed project, but for the purpose of pen pal sharing, both schools will do the canned goods project)

  4. Day Two:

  5. Have students write to their pen pals and explain a project in which both classes collect canned goods and non-perishable foods for local organizations that will distribute it to people in the communities who need it. The goal is to collect enough cans to equal the weight of a large animal. Each student should conduct some research to find the weight of a desired animal and send the statistics, making a case for that animal. Their letters should go through the writing process before they go in the mail.

  6. Subsequent Days:

  7. The two classes can look at the statistics gathered and arguments made, and then vote on the animal to represent their can collection, whose weight will determine their goal.

  8. When the classes have decided on the animal, they can communicate through letters, detailing estimating methods, collection procedures, data recording and more.

  9. Each community will need to locate a local faith based organization and/or organization that will assist in helping with the collection and distribution of canned foods and non-perishable items.

  10. Some ideas for student projects during the canned-good collection: Draw an outline of the chosen animal to be used as the outline of a graph of cans collected. Estimate number of cans needed. Measure weight of cans. Learn facts about the animal. Make motivational posters related to the animal. Send notes home and make announcements on the intercom to motivate other classes to help. Seek collections from neighborhoods with the help of volunteer adults.

  11. Both classes start their canned-good collection drive and monitor and communicate their progress. When they have reached their goal collectively, they can celebrate. Take pictures of the celebration and send the photos to the pen pals.

Assessment 

Monitor student collection techniques, data organization, research accuracy and communication skills in their letter-writing.

Cross Curriculum 

Classes in the pen pal relationship work together to collect enough canned items to equal or surpass the weight of an agreed-upon animal.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.