Addressing the School Community Needs

6, 7, 8

Based on the results of the survey, the students determine the top five character traits that need improvement in the school. They design a service plan and make mascots using the engineering design method. The mascots act as advocates for improvement in school climate. This lesson focuses on planning a service project to promote the common good.

PrintTwo to Four 45-Minute Class Periods

The learner will

  • give examples of needs not met by the government, business, or family sectors.
  • communicate ideas effectively using multimedia skills.
  • describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  • identify a need in the neighborhood or local community.
  • research the need in the school, neighborhood or local community.
  • design a character using principles of design.
  • poster board
  • graph paper
  • Styrofoam balls
  • cardboard
  • glue
  • markers
  • newspapers and papier mache
  • pipe cleaners
  • duct tape
  • additional art supplies to create 3-D mascots
  • advertisement: a public notice
  • advocacy: the act of speaking in favor or or supporting a cause
  • collaborate: work together with a common goal
  • common good: for the greater benefit of all
  • consensus: general agreement; the judgment arrived at by the group
  • mascot: a symbolic figure adopted by a group
  • philanthropy: giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good


  1. Day One: This lesson follows the end of the collection period for the surveys started in Lesson One.

    Anticipatory Set

    Write the definition of philanthropy on the board: "giving or sharing time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good." Ask the students what a philanthropic spirit in the school might feel like. How might the school be better for all if a philanthropic spirit was part of the school culture and social contract? How can fostering a civil society through collective action bring about a peaceful and propering community? Make this statement and have the students argue for and against it: "The school is a civil society that requires each member to take responsibility for making it better through philanthropy."

    Tell the students that today they will analyze the survey results and plan a service project to address the needs identified in the survey. They will work in groups todesigna mascot or action hero as part of an effort to improve the school climate. Showa couple examples of commercials with a mascot. Discuss what they like about mascots from commercials or sports teams. Caution students about using ethnic or cultural stereotypes as mascots (i.e. Braves).

    Geico Gecko (discusses value of an icon):

    Planters Peanuts:

  2. Have students analyze the survey results from the school. Have them work in teams to organize the results into different representations: a spreadsheet, a pie graph, a bar graph and a line graph. From the graphic, they can determine the top five character traits in the school that the students feel are important and need improvement,

  3. Students share stories from their homework assignment and identify how the most important character traits have changed or remained the same.

  4. Ask, "If these traits are important to everyone, whose responsibility is it to meet this need?" Discuss whether it is the responsibility of the school leadership, the community of students, or someone else.

  5. Discuss the idea that when some people feel unsafe or bullied or not respected, it affects the whole community, so you are really helping yourself when you do something that helps others. With that in mind, discuss the meaning of the phrase, "We are all better off when we are all better off." Or, you may introduce the more advanced concept of "enlightened self-interest."

  6. Discuss a plan for addressing the needs identified in the survey by advocating to the whole school community to practice the positive traits identified in the survey. The plan should include advocacy, or promoting an issue with others.

  7. Students will self-select a work group by choosing one of the identified character traits that they want to focus on.

  8. Day Two (may take a few days)

  9. Each group develops a mascot following the engineering design steps:


Use the student-made rubrics to evaluate the quality of their mascots and service/advocacy plans.

Cross Curriculum 

Based on the investigation started in Lesson One, students plan their service component, including designing a character and campaign to promote a positive school climate.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Give examples of needs not met by the government, business, or family sectors.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.