Restoring Home

6, 7, 8

Students learn about the Habitat for Humanity ReStore as a community resource for affordable housing materials for building and home repair. Students use comparison shopping skills and plan a service project that addresses a need in their community.

PrintFour 45-Minute Class Periods Plus time for data collection and to plan and carry out a service project

The learner will:

  • explore and support reasons for shopping at the local Habitat For Humanity ReStore.
  • create an spreadsheet to compare Habitat for Humanity prices of basic household construction and household repair items usually bought at more expensive hardware chain stores.
  • design a flyer explaining the advantages of shopping at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
  • plan and carry out a service-learning project that addresses the community's needs.
Teacher Preparation 

Bring to class examples of tools, construction materials, or pictures of these items for students to view, especially lesser-known items such as caulk and caulk gun.

  • habitat:  (n) a place where a person or thing lives
  • spreadsheet: (n) an accounting or bookkeeping program that displays data in rows and columns on a screen
  • refinish: (v) to give a new surface to (
  • community resource:  something that can be used for support or help in your area
  • comparison shopping: (v) to compare prices and quality of merchandise in (competing stores) to determine the best value
  • budget: (n) the total amount of money allocated for a certain purpose including both income and expenditures
Home Connection 

After Day One, students collect data to compare prices at different retail hardware stores and the local Habitat for Humanity Resale Store. Each person in the group will be responsible for obtaining current prices of agreed upon items.


  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set:

    Show the students the examples of tools or construction materials you brought in. Ask them what they think these tools and materials are used for. Listen to a couple ideas (building a deck, fixing a sink, repairing a roof). Confirm that these are materials that can be used in home repair.

  2. Have students work in small groups or pairs to generate a list of home repairs/projects they or others may need in their homes (examples: tighten hinges on cabinet doors, repair leaky sink in bathroom, replace a cracked window, add an extra room, build a dog house, add child-proofing to cupboards and outlets).

  3. Ask each group to report to the class some of the repairs/projects they brainstormed.

  4. From this discussion, have students identify the types of repairs/projects that are most commonly needed. For example, peeling paint.

  5. Ask, "Why do you think these repairs are often left undone?" (Answers may include lack of time, money, interest or knowledge.)

  6. Have students work in their small groups to review their brainstormed lists of repairs. Have them discuss and put the list in order by what they think the costs are (most expensive to cheapest). Tell them to write a dollar amount by a few of the projects to indicate what they estimate the projects might cost.

  7. Ask the students where they think the supplies for these repairs and projects are usually purchased. They may mention local hardware stores and big-box stores. Tell them that Habitat for Humanity has ReStore locations all over that sell inexpensive (used and new) materials, tools, and supplies. Explore the website together to view the services and goods they supply. Locate the nearest local storefront

  8. From their list, the group selects five specific items, such as a washing machine, caulk, piece of lumber, and faucet. For homework, the group members do some price research at different locations (either by going there or pricing online). All group members research all five items, but each member goes to a different store. For example, one student looks up all five items at the local hardware store. Another student looks up prices for the same five items at a large home improvement store. Make sure one student from each group researches the prices at a Habitat ReStore could be done by phone call to the nearest store, located on the website in the Bibliographical References). Tell them to write down relevant information about the products: size, brand, price. (The collected information will be entered into a spreadsheet in the following days.)

  9. Day Two and Three

    Anticipatory Set:

    Write the following journal prompt on the board. Have students write for five minutes about their shopping experiences.

    Prompt: Write about your shopping trip. What surprised you in your research and why? Which items cost more or less than you thought? Which items might be difficult for a family with limited resources to obtain?

    Have groups meet to compare their shopping experiences at different locations. They compare prices and search the internet for additional prices if some products were difficult to locate.

  10. Each group will create an spreadsheet with a column for each store and a row for each item. They enter the price of each item in the correct places on the spreadsheet. This may take additional homework time. When it is ready, the group prints or electronically shares their files with the rest of the class. (The teacher may merge all the spreadsheets into one for final analysis.)

  11. Discuss the relative costs of items and determine the least expensive place to shop. Discuss the pros and cons of shopping at the cheapest place.

  12. Tell students that most of the retail stores are run by private business, and the Habitat ReStore is a nonprofit. Discuss the meaning of nonprofit and why an organization would choose to open a nonprofit. Remind the students of the meaning of philanthropy, and discuss how a nonprofit is related to philanthropy (sharing treasure for the common good). Some of the people working at the ReStore may be volunteers, but some may be employees who earn money for their work. Discuss where the money for this nonprofit may come from (selling goods, funding, donations).

  13. Journal Reflection: Doyou recommend the Habitat for Humanity store for building and home-repair items? Why or why not? How can you help people learn about this community resource?

  14. Day Four

  15. Students collaborate to create a flyer and/or poster advertising the Habitat For Humanity store. Information to be included: Rationale for using the resource, location(s), phone number(s), range of items sold, hours, etc.

  16. Students distribute and post completed flyers and posters around the school and community. (Teacher may contact local print media to see if they will print student flyers)

  17. Have students collaborate to plan and carry out a service project to address the issue of homelessness based on their investigations in this unit.


Assessments may be based on the following student performance: 1. Completion of Journal Writing (Do not grade content.) 2. Completion and correct formatting of spreadsheet (Teacher may create rubric if desired.) 3. Quality work on Poster/Flyer based on the rubric (see Materials)

Cross Curriculum 

Based on the information collected about homelessness and poverty over the three lessons, students plan a service-learning project that addresses the needs identified and corresponds their interests and skills. They may choose to share their PSA projects from Lesson Two to a community audience. They may choose to construct necessary items or work on a local Habitat for Humanity house. Or they may design a unique project related to their community's needs.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Identify the business, government, family, and civil society sectors.
    2. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.7 Give examples of common resources in the community.
  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. 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.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
    4. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Develop a service plan.
    5. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.