Searching for the Evidence

6, 7, 8
The purpose of this lesson is to help students make a connection between the Core Democratic Values and the historical tradition in the U.S.
Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Sixty-Minute Class Period
The learner will:
  • identify five examples from American history of people acting for the common good.
  • identify Core Democratic Values that are exemplified in actions of people from the past.
  • A collection of photographs depicting people helping others
  • Timelines of American history (see Bibliographical References)
  • A time-line of major philanthropic events has been constructed and can be viewed by going to Internet address /. Click on "Resource Room." Then go to "Timelines (Historic and Philanthropic)."
  • Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975.
  • Hirsch, E.D., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.
  • The Time Chart History of the World. Third Millenium Press Ltd., 1997.


  1. Anticipatory Set:As students enter the room, have photographs posted around the room or lying on their desks. These pictures can be from magazines or from historical events. Each picture should show people helping others for the common good. Ask the students to spend two minutes studying the pictures.

  2. At the end of two minutes, ask the students to identify the actions of the people in the photographs. Ask what all the pictures have in common with each other. Ask students to define common good in their own words.
  3. Ask the students to identify and explain the Core Democratic Value that is portrayed in the picture they had to study.
  4. Working in cooperative groups, provide the students with a historical time line of American history. Assign each group a five to ten-year period of history to study. Ask the students to find five historical events to use as examples. (See Bibliographic References.)
  5. Students will select one event from their assigned period of American History to research.
  6. Upon completion of the research, students will discuss and identify the Core Democratic Values that were represented within their cooperative groups.
  7. Upon identifying their CDV examples, each cooperative group will share their findings with the rest of the class.
Assessment for this lesson will be based on teacher observation and the student's ability to identify the Core Democratic Values being portrayed.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.