Are There Any Heroes Out There?

6, 7, 8

Students will become aware of current issues in politics as well as the points of view of the candidates in regard to civic virtue and the creation of a civil society.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify stands by political candidates on issues which deal with civic virtue or the betterment of a civil society.
  • Current articles regarding the stands of political candidates (Contact your local Democratic and Republican Campaign Headquarters for information on the current issue and candidates.)
  • Excerpts of political commercials, either radio or television (If taped ads are not available, you may use ads from some of the periodicals published during the time of an election.) If information is not available to students, consider having them interview the local candidates in order to obtain the information they need.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Record a few quick clips from candidate or political party advertisements. Ask students to respond in their journals to the following questions: What is the purpose of this ad? What is the message that this candidate or political party is trying to send? For what audience is this advertisement intended? (Answers to this question might include parents, senior citizens, middle-income voters, low-income voters, minorities, etc.) Discuss.


  2. Review the definitions of common good, civic virtue and civil society.

  3. Divide students into groups and distribute information regarding the stand on current issues of the candidates and/or parties. Instruct them to go through the article looking for answers to the following questions:

    • What stands are they taking that stress acting for the common good?
    • How did they show civic virtue?
    • What issues do they support which show contribution to a civil society?
  4. Once students have obtained the information for each candidate or party, assign one candidate to each pair of students. Have the students create a two or three minute political commercial emphasizing the candidate's stand for the common good and examples of his/her civic virtue and contributions. They should have a designated audience (this may be the general public).

  5. Using the examples which students have used in their ads, discuss how culture and experiences shape positions that candidates and the electorate take on issues.


Journal entries, commercials.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Define civic virtue.
      2. Benchmark MS.8 Define civil society.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.