Look at the Man in the Mirror

6, 7, 8

The learners will conduct an in-depth biographical investigation of a philanthropist and evaluate the significance of his/her contribution to the common good.

PrintThree Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify a common theme in three contemporary songs and how that theme might motivate someone to be a philanthropist.
  • conduct an in-depth biographical investigation of a philanthropist and the contributions he/she has made to society.
  • utilize resource materials to guide their investigation and presentation.
  • present the results of their investigation to the entire class in an appropriate and creative manner.
  • Michael Jackson's song, Man in the Mirror
  • Michael Jackson's song, Make the World a Better Place
  • Bill Withers' song, Lean on Me
  • Philanthropist Presentation Paparazzi (Handout One)
  • Philanthropist Paparazzi Rubric for Evaluation of Presentation (Handout Two)
  • Library/Internet Access


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Have the learners identify some of the popular songs today and while writing these titles on the display board, have them also share what they sense is the theme of the songs being suggested. Said another way, what might the author/singer of these songs want us to hear. Follow this up with the question of why people who have ideas to communicate often do so through music and song. Have learners listen to three songs with a theme. (NOTE if the music is not available, lyrics can be downloaded and printed for distribution and reading. See below for URL sites.)

    Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror"


    Michael Jackson's "Heal the World" https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/michaeljackson/healtheworld.html

    Bill Withers "Lean on Me"


  2. After listening to the songs or reading the lyrics, have the learners identify some of the common themes that run through these three sounds.

  3. Isolate the words i.e."Make That Change"," Make the World a Better Place," and "Lean On Me." and ask the learners to associate these lyrics with the motivation for giving.

  4. Lead discussion about civic responsibility from the viewpoint of the giver or philanthropist.

  5. Drawing from the list of philanthropists from Lesson One, or one of their own choosing, assign the learners to research a philanthropist, past or present, associating the philanthropist with how they exemplify some of the song lyrics.

  6. Tell the learners that they will present their philanthropist to the class using one of the following ways: presentation software, written report, skit, charts, time line, illustrations, revised song lyrics, rap, video tape, etc.

  7. Give the learners an overview of the expectations to guide their research by handing out the Philanthropist Presentation Paparazzi checklist (Handout One). Explain that a minimum of two resources are required.

  8. Make arrangements for the learners to go to the library/Internet to access information and begin their research on their philanthropist.

  9. Before the close of class, distribute the Philanthropist Paparazzi Rubric for Evaluation of Presentation (Handout Two), share with the learners that this rubric will be used to judge their final presentation, and assign the date by which presentations will begin.

  10. Encourage the learners to identify other songs, past and present, that carry a philanthropic theme and come prepared to share these songs and their themes at the start of the next class period.

  11. Have the learners share what songs they discovered that also carry a philanthropic theme. Discuss these as a class.

  12. Continue the use of the library/Internet to conclude the research portion of the class assignment and begin planning for the final presentations.

  13. On the assigned due date, have the learners begin their presentations using a creative format, and rubric to judge their own presentation performance.

  14. Learners will exhibit their props in an assigned area for casual viewing by the class and the rest of the school.


The individual learner's presentation of their selected philanthropist using a creative format and rubric to assess their own presentation performance combined with the teacher assessment of the learner's performance, also based on the proposed rubric, will serve as an assessment for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  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.6 Describe how the financial resources of an individual, family, or corporation relate to their ability to give away money to unknown others.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.
  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.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.6 Identify and explain how fundamental democratic principles relate to philanthropic activities.
      4. Benchmark MS.7 Identify and give examples of an individual's reserved power to act.