Individuals and Their Communities: Philanthropy Lesson (3rd)

3, 4, 5

Students will understand the concept of “community” as it relates to membership in the classroom, school, or neighborhood.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45 to 60 minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify and define the concept of “community.”
  • evaluate and explain why their classroom, school, or neighborhood is a community.
  • cite examples of other types of communities.
  • use the vocabulary describing community characteristics.
  • Poster board or heavy poster paper
  • Markers and pencils
  • Writing and drawing paper
  • Blank 5 x 9” index cards
  • (Optional) Handout One: School/Home Connection Interview (Spanish version, Handout Two)
Home Connection 

Students will be asked to interview an adult and fill out the School/Home Connection Interview (see Handout One).


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students the name of the continent we live on? (North America) In what country do we live? (United States of America) What State do we live in? (____) What city?(_____________). Ask students if they can identify a community (of which they are a part) that is smaller than a city. (Look for answers such as “classroom,” “family,” “faith-based organization,” “sports team,” etc.) Tell them they are part of many other communities which will be discovered in today’s lesson.


  2. Display a poster or large piece of chart paper with the definition of community (a group of people with common interests and likes) written at the top.

  3. Create 10 cards with the following words and definitions on them. Put one word or definition on each card, one word or one definition per card. Hand the cards out randomly to ten different students. Ask each of the students to read their word or definition card. Ask the class to decide who has the word and definition that belong together. As students make suggestions, ask the two students holding the cards to stand next to each other. After all the words and definitions are paired together, ask the students to again read their cards. Have the class to make adjustments until they are sure they have the matches correct. Display the matching word and definition cards on the community poster.

    • sharing - dividing or distributing portions
    • caring - showing interest or concern
    • trust - confidence or faith in a person or thing
    • interdependence - depending on one another; mutual dependence
    • common resources - resources that are not owned, but left open for free use by all
  4. Arrange students into six cooperative groups of four to six students. Give each group a picture of one of the following: children in the classroom, spectators at a football game, a Boy Scout troop, a beach full of people, a sports team, and a family at the dinner table. (Pictures may be photographs or cut from books, popular magazines, or the newspaper.) Each group will be given five minutes to decide whether or not their picture shows an example of a community and use the words from the previous activity to defend their decisions. Each group must present its findings by choosing one person to speak for the group. The teacher should facilitate, correcting misconceptions that may occur.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Discuss the importance of personal virtue, good character, and ethical behavior in a democracy.
      3. Benchmark E.7 Describe why the classroom, school, or neighborhood is a community governed by fundamental democratic principles.