Unit Overview 

Through a study of the Orphan Train in social studies and language arts, students gain an understanding of the historic roots related to homeless children in American society and the philanthropic efforts made to improve the conditions of these children. 

Service Experience 
The teacher and students may choose one of these projects that best fits skills, time, needs, etc. The students will research and identify agencies and organizations that provide services to children in the community. Students will determine and produce a method of disseminating information to the general student population after interviewing agency representatives that deal with homeless children. Students will visit/perform service for a local homeless shelter or other organizations that provide services to children who find themselves homeless. Participate in Empty Bowls Project. After researching local philanthropists, students will plan a recognition luncheon for the philanthropists. Students will send persuasive letters to philanthropists and philanthropic organizations.
Lessons in This Unit 
Unit: 
Philanthropy and Children Who Are Homeless
Lesson 2 of 6
Grades: 
6
7
8

Students will exhibit empathy for the children who rode the Orphan Train through journal writing. They will read articles that are often first person essays about the children's experiences. The students will then determine what rights were denied homeless children in the late 1800s and early 1900s and take a stand on whether or not the Orphan Train was a philanthropic activity that met the needs of these children.

Unit: 
Philanthropy and Children Who Are Homeless
Lesson 3 of 6
Grades: 
6
7
8

Using the philanthropy timeline from the Learning to Give website, students will explore the many philanthropic activities that occurred during the period of the Orphan Train that ran from l854-1924 and create a class philanthropic timeline. Students will analyze effects of these events on the country and the world.

Unit: 
Philanthropy and Children Who Are Homeless
Lesson 4 of 6
Grades: 
6
7
8

Students will read information and determine whether or not Charles Loring Brace was indeed a philanthropist. After they have "profiled" Brace, they will write a paragraph about the characteristics of a philanthropist using Charles Loring Brace as an example.

Unit: 
Philanthropy and Children Who Are Homeless
Lesson 5 of 6
Grades: 
6
7
8

Students select an issue area and research on the Internet, specifically the Learning to Give briefing papers to identify philanthropists and philanthropic organizations who have an interest in addressing that issue. Using the information gained from research, students write a persuasive letter to a philanthropist or philanthropic organization in support of a worthwhile cause in the community.

Unit: 
Philanthropy and Children Who Are Homeless
Lesson 6 of 6
Grades: 
6
7
8

The purpose of the lesson is to create an awareness of local agencies that provide services for needy people, teens, and families in the community. Students will also learn the motivations for giving and see how help is provided to the community through the four sectors of the economy. Students will research and select a community agency and plan a service-learning project.