Recognizing Philanthropy in a Legend and in Modern Society-Examples of Sharing as Told Through a Native American Legend

3, 4, 5

To review the idea of philanthropy through a Native American legend as people take action when a problem arises in their community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo 45 Minute Class Periods

The Learnerwill:

  • be able to identify a community need, who fulfilled the need, and what the implications were for the future.
  • give examples of how they act selflessly.
  • The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola (see Bibliographic References) Summary of Legend A Comanche community is suffering from a drought. The Great Spirits are punishing the Comanche because of their selfishness with the land. The solution to their problem, according to the Great Spirits, is to sacrifice a most valued possession. One girl realizes the depth of the community problem and offers her favorite doll. Because of her selfless act, the rains fall and the community is healed.
  • Related Questions for students (see Attachment One) and Answer Key (see Attachment Two).
  • DePaola, Tomie. The Legend of the Bluebonnet. Putnam Juvenile, 1996. ISBN: 0698113594.


  1. Anticipatory SetShow students the illustrations from Tomie DePaolo's The Legend of the Bluebonnet. Preview the story with the following questions:

  2. In this legend, the Comanche People face a community problem.

  3. What do you think the community problem is?

  4. How do you think it will be solved?

  5. What do you think the future for the Commanche People will be like?

  6. Read The Legend of the Bluebonnet to students.

  7. Discuss the idea of philanthropy in this community.

  8. What was the community need?

  9. What options and resources do the People have to meet the need?

  10. What was the plan of action to fulfill the need?

  11. Who fulfilled the need? How do you think she felt about her sacrifice?

  12. Because of the little girl's action, how was the future of her community affected?

  13. Questions to explore orally with your class:

  14. What is your most valued possession? If your community needed it to help raise money for a charity, would you sacrifice your treasure? How would you feel about it?

  15. Many communities experience the natural effects of droughts, flooding, earthquakes, and hurricanes. How have communities demonstrated philanthropy to assist a devastated area?

  16. In the story, She-Who-Is-Alone acts selfessly, giving up her doll for her people.Have you ever acted selflessly to help someone or something in need? Explain How did you feel about it?


Teacher observation of student participation. Written assessment. Have students answer the five text-related questions (5 points) provided on the student page. Also have students respond to one or more of the 'questions to explore.' Evaluate based on completeness and accuracy relative to the ideas presented in the class discussion.

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 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
    2. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe an early example of philanthropy practiced in the indigenous culture.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Trace the historic roots of philanthropy in the nation's history.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.