PrintTwo Thirty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify examples of philanthropy in historical settings.
  • analyze costs associated with philanthropy.

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, Aladdin Paperbacks. ISBN: 0020435207

Home Connection 


  • Hamilton, Virginia. The House of Dies Drear. Aladdin Paperbacks. ISBN: 0020435207


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students if they know the difference between a railroad and the Underground Railroad? Guide a brief discussion to ensure common understanding.

  2. Explain that The House of Dies Drear is historical fiction. Although it is fiction, it is based on a historical situation and time. In this case, the story refers to the period before the Civil War when enslaved persons of African American descent tried to escape their bondage and flee to safety, usually to Canada or the Northern States. Tell them that thousands of volunteers helped slaves reach freedom.

  3. Read the story The House of Dies Drear.

  4. Discuss the following questions related to the story:

    • What is the need?
    • Who has the need?
    • Who is in the community?
    • Who fills the need?
    • What talent or treasure was given? What did it cost to give?
    • What goodness does the community experience from that giving or sharing?
    • What is the reward for the one or ones who shared?
    • What would have happened if the need had not been met?
  5. Have students analyze what type of person Dies Drear was. How does he fit their perception of what a philanthropist is like? Have students write a one-paragraph profile of Dies Drear as a philanthropist.


The profile of Dies Drear will serve as the assessment for this lesson. For a unit assessment, have learners construct a word map defining philanthropy or write what “philanthropy” means. Learners should give examples of giving time, treasure or talent for the common good. Compare this post-test to the pre-test which was completed in the first lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.