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Becoming Humane Beings (lesson plans)

by Marsha Rakestraw

Right at the start of the school year is a great time to encourage students to think about the world they live in, the choices they make, what a humane world looks like, and the power they have to help bring such a world to reality.

What does it mean to become a humane being in today’s world?

Here are 6 of our activities to help you and your students explore what that looks like:

Ethical Dilemmas

What would you do if….? Help students think deeply and critically about the quandaries between balancing personal desires with kindness toward others by engaging them in discussing personal and global scenarios.
Recommended for grades 3 through 8.
Time: 60 minutes

I Think, Therefore I Act

Based on the Privilege Walk, this activity encourages students/participants to develop an awareness of the kinds of choices we make every day that impact other people, nonhuman animals, and the environment.
Recommended for grades 9 and up.
Time: A few class periods

One Person Can Change the World

Empower students by using stories and activities to show them that one person can make a positive difference.
Recommended for grades 5 through 12.
Time: 30-60 minutes

What Does a Humane World Look Like?

Have students create their vision of a humane world and compare it to the world we live in now. What are the differences, and how can we make the world “as it is” become the humane world envisioned?
Recommended for grades 2 through 6.
Time: 15-30 minutes

What is a Humane Life?

What’s a typical Saturday look like in the life of someone striving to live a more humane life? Participants follow a “humane presenter” or a “humane wannabe” through a reenactment of their day to learn about the whats and whys of making humane choices every day.

Recommended for grades 5 and up.
Time: 90-120 minutes

What Makes a Humane Being?

What are the most desirable and undesirable qualities of humans? Use sample stories and pictures to help students identify our best (and worst) qualities and how we can encourage humane qualities in ourselves and others.
Recommended for grades 3 through 6.
Time: 30-60 minutes

Find more useful lesson plans in our Solutionary Hub.

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