How Does My Government Grow?

6, 7, 8

Learners will describe the importance of Core Democratic Values in a democratic government and analyze the way they support philanthropy.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify and define the eight Core Democratic Values.
  • describe how Core Democratic Values affect their life in the United States.
  • define philanthropy and identify how Core Democratic Values relate to it.



    Anticipatory Set:

    The teacher will post a sequence of three pictures: a dead plant, a starving animal and the U.S. Capitol. The teacher will instruct the learners to identify the pictures, identify any problems or potential problems and identify the cause of the problem or the eventual outcome.

    Dead Plant: "What is this?" "Is there anything wrong with it?" "What are the things a plant needs to survive?"

    Starving Animal: "What is this?" "What’s wrong with this animal?" "What will happen if it continues to be neglected?" "What does this animal need to survive?" "What will happen if somebody takes care of this animal?"

    U.S. Capitol: "What is this?" "What does it represent?" "What does it have to do with the previous pictures?" "What will happen if we neglect our government?" "What does a democracy need to survive?"

  2. Put the following terms on the chalkboard or overhead projector: core, democratic and value. Taking one term at a time, have learners define the term and give an example of how the word is used in a sentence. Put the words together and define core democratic value.

  3. Using ordinary terms they know, ask the learners to name things that are core democratic values in their personal lives (answers might include: love of country, family or heritage, etc.). Explain that there are core democratic values that hold a country together. In this country they are: common good, popular sovereignty, patriotism, equality, diversity, truth, justice and individual rights. Without giving out actual definitions, talk about each term, letting the learners use various word clues and other strategies to get an idea of what each term means. Have them use each word in a sentence. Make sure learners have a clear idea of the meanings of the words before continuing.

  4. Ask the learners why these terms are called values. What makes them core democratic values? Were there instances in our country’s history when what these words stood for was the focus of attention?

  5. Put the term philanthropy on the chalkboard or overhead projector. Elicit definitions. Define philanthropy as "individuals and organizations providing their time, talent and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world." Have the learners give examples of persons providing their time, talent and/or treasures. Examples should come from history and from their own lives. Have the learners explain how philanthropy and core democratic values work together.

  6. Distribute Core Democratic Values Booklet Rubric (Handout One). Go over the rubric to explain the task. Each learner will create a Core Democratic Values booklet that represents his or her view of the eight Core Democratic Values. Placing one Core Democratic Value on each page, the learner will compose, edit and publish a definition of each Core Democratic Value and explain how the absence and presence of each affects his/her life and the lives of others. Using newspapers and magazines, the learner will cut and paste two pictures of current events, one representing each Core Democratic Value and one representing the absence of each Core Democratic Value. The learner will design a cover for the booklet that represents what democracy means to him or her.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify individual sovereignty as a basic concept in government.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Identify and explain how fundamental democratic principles relate to philanthropic activities.