Philanthropic Peacemakers

3, 4, 5

Students research a Nobel Peace Prize winner to gain understanding of his/her philanthropic contribution to our global community. Students present their research on a display board and share the information on a family night.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods, Plus a Family Night

The learner will:

  • identify the reason one person received the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • reflect on how this act affected our global community.
  • express an opinion on whether the act was an act of philanthropy.
  • teacher copy of Alfred Nobel: Inventive Thinker (Great Life Stories)
  • teacher copy of Peacemakers: Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • cardboard display boards, one per person
  • construction paper, glue, and scissors
  • encyclopedias, books, computers with Internet access, etc.
  • pencils, markers, pens and paper
  • medal or medallion of any typeTeachers note: Books can be available through interlibrary loan instead of purchasing them.
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: After Day One, have the students survey their parents to see how many Nobel Peace Prize winners they can name. Have the students write the names given by their parents on a sheet of paper and bring to class to share. Families may look up previous winners so students may come to school prepared to choose a favorite.

  • Binns, Tristan Boyer. Alfred Nobel: Inventive Thinker (Great Life Stories). Franklin Watts Publisher, 2004. ISBN 0531123286
  • Keene, Ann T. Peacemakers: Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0195103165


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Draw a large peace sign on the board. Ask students if they know what this symbol represents. Discuss its meaning.

    Pass around the medal or medallion you brought into class. Brainstorm reasons that people earn medals. Tell the students that each year someone is awarded a medal for his or her efforts toward peace. This award is called the Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. Day One: Read about Alfred Nobel and the origin of the Nobel Prizes. You can read a copy of his will stating exactly how Nobel wanted his money to be spent each year. Go to Reference the book Alfred Nobel: Inventive Thinker. Discuss what he invented, its intended use, how we use it today, and how its invention has affected our global community. (Students may be surprised that he invented dynamite to be used to in contribute to the common good.)

  3. Discuss why Nobel wanted to award these prizes each year. Lead the students to recognize that Nobel was a philanthropist concerned with the global community.

  4. Introduce the students to the research project while handing out the Research Guide (Handout One). Each student should learn about one Nobel Peace Prize winner. You can assign years to students or let them choose their favorites. They conduct research and present what they learned on a display board. Reference the book Peacemakers: Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  5. Day Two: Students work independently or in pairs conducting research and completing the display board. You may need to conduct mini-lessons on topics from how to site references to how to create an interactive display board. Encourage students to download photos and include information about the life work of the person.

  6. Day Three: Create a timeline of the Nobel Peach Prize winners studied in your class. Create a blank timeline in advance. Ask students to help you plot the dates to cover the time represented by the class’s research. Students should fill in the year, name of recipient, and the recipient’s philanthropic contribution. This timeline can be hung on the wall where the students’ display boards are set up for sharing on a family night.

  7. Have students write a journal entry responding to the focus question: How have these Nobel Peace Prize winner’s contributions affected your life today?


Assess student display projects using the guidelines in Handout One. Assess students’ reflective writing on the focus question.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will display their presentations at a family night, sharing their knowledge with our school family.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
      2. 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 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.10 Give an example of an action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
  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.