Intro – 5th – Harper

Intro to Helping Others


In lesson 1, students have the opportunity to review the definitions of Helping Others and altruism, be introduced to the definitions of volunteer and compassion as they relate to Helping Others, be re-introduced to Harper and have the opportunity to commit to an act of altruism.

In lesson 2, students will work together as a team and gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live your life in an unselfish way completely for the benefit of others in greater need than yourself.

In lesson 3, students will incorporate their understanding of Helping Others into an entry in their Career Journals, as it relates to their future work.


Students will develop self confidence in their ability to help others in various settings and life situations by:

  • developing and employing effective interpersonal communication skills and demonstrating empathy
  • creating positive and supportive relationships with peers and adults
  • demonstrating ethical decision making and social responsibility
  • using effective collaboration and cooperation skills


Helping Others: Giving of your time, energy, effort and thought to another person or organization

Altruism: Unselfish concern for others

Volunteer: A person who does work without getting paid to do it

Compassion: A feeling of wanting to help someone who is in need or distress


  1. Briefly re-introduce Harper.
  2. Using the Project TEAM House Guide, draw the PT house, indicating wall #1.
  3.  Ask students what it means to help others and why it is important. Allow time for students to share their own definitions and experiences.
  4. Give students the definition of Helping Others provided above and explain the following. Giving money to charity and other organizations that help people in need are ways to help.  For people who are in need, having help means they get their needs met.  During Thanksgiving, people who would not have a Thanksgiving dinner end up getting one because of food drives (efforts to collect food donations) and time and effort from volunteers to prepare and serve the food.  Helping others isn’t always on such a large scale.  We can help each other every day in smaller but still important ways.  Think about a time when you helped someone or someone helped you.  What happened?”
  5. Ask students to describe a person that helps others. Have them think of people they know who are helpful and try to describe them. Then ask them why people help others. Allow students to share their thoughts.
  6. Explain to students some people help others because they will could get a reward. A Baker, for example, helps others by baking cakes and sweets for everyday sale and for special occasions. If they are successful at baking they may get chosen for large orders like weddings or they could even win awards. Think of all of the baking shows on TV right now! At some point they were helping others by baking and were rewarded for a job well done.
  7. Ask students what they think would happen if people only helped others because they would get a reward?”  Allow students to provide answers.
  8. Write Altruism and the definition on the board.
  9. Ask students which category (of the reasons people help others) does altruism fall into. The students should answer the last category.
  10. Discuss how unselfish means doing something even though it doesn’t benefit you and caring about and helping others because you want to, not because you get a reward.
  11. Write the words Volunteer and Compassion and their definitions on the board.
  12. Have student share times they have volunteered or for what they would interested in volunteering.
  13. Ask students if they have ever felt compassion for someone. Go on to ask if they tried to help when they felt this compassion.
  14. Say to students, “Helping others makes us feel good.  We can feel like we have purpose.  We feel like we are connected to the other person and part of our school, family and community.  Helping others is pretty awesome!  What are some ways you would like to help others?”  Allow each student to answer this question.
  15. Ask students the following questions one at a time:“What are some ways that you can show altruism, or be altruistic in the next week?”“What would happen if we commit to doing something altruistic in the next week?”“Let’s commit to doing something altruistic. What do you say?”
  16. Have students identify and write on a piece of paper how they will commit to showing altruism in the coming week. Have them keep these papers and self-monitor if they follow through.

Making Foundation Connections

  1. In what other foundations is it also important to Help Others? Why?
  2. In what other foundations is being altruistic important? Compassionate?

20 minutes