PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • compile a list of attributes associated with heroes.
  • identify real heroes with whom they are familiar.
  • describe someone who exemplifies civic virtue and contributes to the creation of a civil society.
  • identify disparities between American ideals and realities.
  • develop a plan of how citizens might bridge the gap between American ideals and realities.
  • Photographs or cartoons of characters/persons who students would recognize as heroes, i.e., Superman, Batman, etc. (Be sure to include only pictures of those you know work for the good of society.)
  • Vocabulary and Beyond (Handout One) Spanish version (Handout Three)
  • My Hero (Handout Two) Spanish version (Handout Four)
Home Connection 

Have students ask parents who their heroes were/are and why.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Show students a collection of pictures of "super heroes." Ask students to respond to the following questions:

    • What do we consider these characters? (heroes)
    • What do they have in common? (working for the common good of others, risking their safety for the benefit of others)
    • What makes them heroes? (attributes)
  2. Write the following words on the board. (Note: Definitions are included here for teacher use.)

    • civic virtue (morality, goodness or uprightness exhibited by good citizens)
    • civil society (a set of intermediate associations which are neither the state nor the extended family; civil society therefore includes voluntary associations and firms and other corporate bodies)
    • enlightened self-interest (actions for the common good also meet individual personal needs)
    • egoism (an ethical doctrine stating that individual self-interest is the valid end of all actions)
    • altruism (selfless concern for the welfare of others)
  3. Distribute Vocabulary and Beyond (Attachment One). Go through the vocabulary together. Give examples of each as they relate to philanthropy (doing good for others or for the common good). Instruct students to create an illustration and write definitions using their own words in the space next to each specific term. Instruct students to complete the questions. Discuss the Reflection section together.

  4. Put students in small groups. Give each group a collection of periodicals, e.g., Time, Newsweek, current newspapers, etc. Ask them to find people who are showing civic virtue and/or contributing to the creation of a civil society. Discuss the selected examples.

  5. Give each student a copy of My Hero (Attachment Two). Instruct them to create a fictitious "hero." The hero/heroine should have a name and an illustration, as well as a list of attributes. Among the attributes, students should be able to tell how their hero exemplifies civic virtue and how they contribute to a civil society.

  6. Tell students to create a list of their American ideals. As a whole group, explain how these ideals compare to realities. Develop a plan to bridge the gap between what we feel is right and what we actually do.


Attachment One: Vocabulary and Beyond and Attachment Two: My Hero.

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.10 Give historic and contemporary examples of a voluntary action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Define civic virtue.
      3. Benchmark MS.8 Define civil society.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Explain and give examples of enlightened self-interest, egoism, and altruism as they relate to philanthropy.