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Poverty, Sustainability, and Values Thinking Lesson Plan

Teacher: Laura Miller

Content & Title:

Poverty and Values


Grade Level: 4th


Arizona College and Career Ready Standards

Concept 4: Communication
PO 1. Communicate verbally or in writing the results of an inquiry. (See W04-S3C3-01)
Students will be able to affectively communicate their conclusions of the effect of not having
enough basic necessities to thrive in todays society. Their conclusions will be thorough and
connect to the inquiry activity.

Evidence of Mastery:
While completing the m&m activity students will be asked what their m&ms are representing

and how that connects to poverty to make sure that they have a clear understanding of the
material and how the activity connects to that material.
Students will complete an exit ticket in which they answer multiple choice questions based on
the book that they will have read in class and one open ended question about the activity they
completed in class.
Sub-objectives, SWBAT:
Students will understand what poverty is.
Students will use their understanding of poverty to discuss what they think will happen if you do
not have enough food or water to survive.
Students will journal their initial thoughts.
Students will complete activity showing the idea of having too little resources.
Students will connect activity to their understanding of poverty.

Students will complete assessment to show that they understand.

Lesson Summary and Justification:

The students will first be discussing and writing about what they think poverty is. They will then be
doing the same with the topic of how they thing poverty affects the world around them. Next, they will
be doing an activity involving m&ms that shows them what it is like to not have enough resources in the
world while others have more than they need. They will be reflecting back on this discrepancy in
resources to discuss how people in our world do not have equal access. They will then connect this lack
of equal access to the environment and sustainability. The connections the students will be making
justifies this lesson as teaching poverty as a sustainability topic.

Background Knowledge:

Students will need to know a basic definition of poverty. This has been defined and elaborated on in
both days one and day two of this unit. They will also have the definition written in their journal to refer
back on. They will need to understand that poverty and the environment are connected and in order to
help the environment and become more sustainable we need to address the issue of poverty in our

Students may believe that poverty is the fault of the person and not the world around them. When
discussing values thinking some students may believe that their values and what they believe is
superior to the thoughts and beliefs of others.

Process Skills:
One skill that is being introduced is the ability to think using your values. Students will be learning how
to approach a topic by thinking of their own values and the values of others. This is reinforcing what
they already know about being respectful towards others but expanding upon it and giving values
thinking a name.

Four Ways of Thinking connection:

Values thinking is incredibly important for students to learn. It should be regularly implanted in the
classroom. We are trying to create students that will be good and productive citizens one day and
values thinking is a big part in being able to look at the world from an inclusive prospective. By
discussing poverty in the classroom we are addressing a topic that may be more sensitive for others.
Students are coming in with their own believes and preconceived notions about the poor and they will
all value their responsibility to help the world differently. What needs to be instilled in students in this
lesson is while they may believe one thing, other students may not but we still have to be mindful and
respectful of those students. Once we have established the need for respect of everyones values, we
will discuss how we can incorporate our values into the way we address things and how it may drive
students to get involved and help with this very pressing issue.
There are no immediate safety concerns as students will not be working with any dangerous or
hazardous materials.

Inquiry Questions:
1. How would it feel to not have enough access to basic necessities to live comfortably?

How does the inadequate distribution of resources found in the activity relate to sustainability?

Key vocabulary:
1. Poverty: The state of not having what is
necessary to live a comfortable life
2. Values Thinking: Approaching a question or
topic by taking in to account your own values
and the values of others that may differ from
your own
3. Basic Need: What people need to survive


A Shelter in Our Car by Monica Gunning

Paper for reflection
One bag of M&Ms
30 Paper Bowls
30 exit ticket papers
Cause and effect graphic organizer

Teacher Will:

Bring the whole class together on the rug in

the classroom.
Tell them that today we will be doing an
activity that will teach us even more about
our topics of the week: poverty and
Inform that the activity they will be
completing involves candy and if everyone
participates actively they can eat it when
they are finished.
Tell students that poverty affects people in
different ways. The past two days we have
looked at statistics and talked about its
effects as a whole but have not gotten very
personal. Today we will be getting a little
more personal.
Ask students what effects of poverty they
may think affects the community in which
they live.
Listen to answers and keep conversation
going leading to the discussion of
Inform students that one effect of poverty
that we can see in the United States is

Students Will:

Sit on the rug with whole class.

Understand that todays activities relate
to the past two days of learning and the
topics for the week: poverty and
Think about the ways in which poverty
affects people differently.
Share out with the class what the effects
of poverty are in their own community.
Listen to other students.
Understand that homelessness is an
effect of poverty and that it is a problem
in our country as well as around the
Understand that poverty can be a
sensitive topic for people to talk about.
Think and share what they think a value
might be.
Understand that a value is something
that people believe in and that not
everyone will have the same values as
them but they still have to be respectful.
Participate in classroom discussion.
Understand that they will be using values

Tell them that homelessness is a very real
problem that we can see all around us and
has a different affect on everyone.
Tell students that talking about topics such as
homelessness can be sensitive for some
students and this is where we need to use our
values thinking.
Ask students if they know what values
thinking is
Allow them to answer and take note of their
Ask them what a value is.
Allow students to answer.
Define value as a belief someone has that
they hold important to them.
Tell students that just because you value
something does not mean that others will
value the same thing.
Use the example of baseball teams, for
example just because I am a Giants fan does
not mean that everyone is and I can not just
assume that people agree with me
Ask students if they have any other examples
of different values people may have.
Inform students that this kind of thinking is
true for all of lifes situations and they must
be respectful to the beliefs of others and keep
in mind that not everyone will always think
the same way that they do.
Just because people dont believe in your
values do not mean that yours are wrong or
theirs are right. Values can be different and
they influence our behavior every day.
Give the example, I value volunteering and
taking care of the environment so I often go
pick up trash in my local park
Ask them to give other examples of how
values can affect behavior.
Tell them to keep thinking about this and
remember to be respectful as we read our
Introduce the book A Shelter in Our Car by
Monica Gunning.
This book talks about a girl that immigrated
to the United States with her family from
Jamaica but due to family struggles and not
having enough money had to live in their car.
Read the book to students.
Pause between every few pages to make sure
students are following along and read the
room to see if any students seem as if they

thinking throughout their life and that

their values impact their behavior.
Share examples of how values and
behavior are connected.
Listen to the story read aloud.
Think about how the story connects to
their values and poverty.
Discuss how it would feel to be in Zetties
Discuss how it would feel to not have
enough of what you need to survive.
Understand what a basic need is and how
not everyone has enough to meet their
basic needs.
Prepare themselves for the next activity.
Return to their seats.

have questions.
Ask questions if students have them.
Finish reading the story.
Ask students how reading this story made
them feel. Allow them to discuss.
Ask them how they think they would feel if
they were in Zetties shoes. Allow students to
Ask students what kinds of things they have
in their life that Zettie did not have. Ask if
they thought Zettie and her family had all the
basic needs in life.
Define basic needs for your students as the
essential things a human needs to survive in
life today.
Allow them to discuss what they think is a
basic need and what is not. Connect this to
what Zetties family had and did not have.
Have students keep in mind the idea of not
having enough of a basic need for the next
Tell students to return to seats from the rug.

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes:

Designed to be taught in a single teacher classroom but can implement other teachers through
breaking the classroom into two and parallel teaching. Parallel teaching would be helpful because you
can group students that work well together in the same group. You can also group the students that
have more need with students that will be more patient with them. Students that need a visual to follow
along with will be given the text to have in front of them as the book is being read aloud. ELL students
can be given a copy of the text in their own language to follow along with as it is being read aloud. They
can also be paired with a partner so that they do not feel as if they have to share out with the whole


Teacher Will:
Tell students that the goal of this activity is to

grasp the concept of resources not being

adequately distributed throughout the world.
Make sure students are sitting in groups of
Pass out bowls to the students.
Distribute m&ms unevenly to each student.

Give some students 2 m&ms while others get

a little more and others get a bowl full.
Make sure that some have too little, some
have just enough, and others have way too
Listen to students responses as they are
distributed the candy.
After everyone has a piece, ask them who
wants more.
Ask the students with their hands raised how
many m&ms they have in their bowl.
Ask students that have a lot of m&ms in their
bowl already why they want more.
Allow students to discuss.

Students Will:
Understand the goal of the activity is to

see how resources are not adequately

distributed throughout the world.
Sit in groups of four.
Receive bowl and m&ms.

Talk amongst table mates about the

amount of candy they received.
Raise hand to indicate who wants more
Discuss why the students without a lot of
candy still want more.
Discuss how it feels to have so little
candy while others have more than
Talk about how this activity connects to
Understand that people have too little
resources to live in the world while others
have more tan enough.
Ask remaining questions.

Ask students that have very little m&ms how

it makes them feel that they have so little
and others still want more.
Allow students to discuss this as a classroom.
Ask students how this connects to the idea of
Tell students that people around the world
have very little and others have more than
enough and still want more.
Inform them that this uneven distribution of
candy in the activity reflects the uneven
distribution of resources in the world.
Ask if they have any questions.

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

This section as well is planned to be in a single teacher led classroom. If there was a co-teacher this
lesson could be team taught with both teachers conveying information to students and leading the
discussion happening in the classroom. Students that need it will have the option to write down what is
being discussed. The smaller table groups allow students the opportunity to share out without talking
with the whole group. ELL students will be placed at a table with classmates that are more patient with
their language difficulties to help work through problems that they are having.

Teacher Will:
Pass out blank sheet of paper to students.

Students Will:
Understand that they will be writing a

Tell students that you want them to reflect

back on the activity we just completed in at
least one paragraph.
Have them write a paragraph on how many
m&ms they were given and how it made
them feel.
Tell them to then connect the activity to the
idea of poverty.
Ask how they would feel if they had too little
resources to live while other people had more
than enough.
Ask them if they have any questions.

Write these questions on the board.

reflection paragraph.
Understand that they must include how
the activity made them feel and connect
that to how that relates to poverty.
Ask any questions they have about what
they have to write.
Write clear paragraph.
Share what they wrote with students at
their table.
Share out with the whole class.
Ask any remaining questions about the
connection between poverty and the
candy activity.

Give students time to write.

Give them a two-minute warning to finish up
their ideas.
Ask them to share what they have written
with their table group.
Walk around and monitor discussion.
Ask if students what to share with the whole
Listen to what students have to say. Clarify
anything they may have incorrect.
Ask if they have any remaining questions
about how the activity relates to poverty.

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

This section could be easily parallel taught. Teachers can break up the classroom into two different
groups so that when they share out with the whole class there is less pressure. This would help students
that struggle with asking questions and thrive with a smaller group setting. This smaller group setting is
also assisted by discussing first with your table group before talking to the whole class. Students that
need more of a challenge would be given more questions to address. Students that need to can type
reflection. ELL students are in groups with students that have more patience and work better with them
to help clarify what it needed.

Teacher Will:

Remind students that the day before we

discussed sustainability.
Redefine sustainability as having enough
resources in the world for everyone to use
and reuse without running out and negatively
effecting our planet.
Tell them that they will be completing a cause
and effect chart.
The middle of the graphic organizer is the
cause: poverty: uneven distribution of
resources throughout the world
Inform them that they will be filling out each
other bubble on the chart with an effect that

Students Will:

Remember that they discussed

sustainability previously and understand
its definition.
Understand that they will be completing
a cause and effect graphic organizer.
Follow along with teachers example on
Raise hand to ask any questions.
Work on graphic organizer with table
When finished share out one effect with
Provide feedback to other groups.

this has on the sustainability of the planet.

Complete one example on the board by filling
in a bubble with not enough food for
everyone to eat
Encourage students to work with their table
Ask if they have any questions about what
they are doing.
Have them start working.
Walk around the room to answer questions
and make sure everyone is on task.
When finished have each group share out one
Allow classmates to give that group feedback.
Ask if they have any remaining questions.
Collect graphic organizer.

Ask any remaining questions.

Turn in graphic organizer to teacher.

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

This would be best team taught where each teacher equally conveys content to the students and makes
sure that they are understanding. Giving students a graphic organizer allows them to follow along and
see the connections in front of them. Students that need more of a challenge will be given more on their
graphic organizer. Students that this is already too much of a challenge for will only have three effects
to fill out on the organizer. ELL students will continue to work with the students they have been working
with and encouraged to ask questions if they do not understand. Vocabulary is also being defined for
students to better understand.

Teacher Will:

Inform students that they will be

completing an exit ticket before they leave.
Make sure that students know that this
must be done before they leave the
classroom that day as it is important for
their next two days of activities.
Pass out exit ticket to students.
Read over instructions with them.
Tell them that for the last question they
have to write at least four sentences but
they can write as much as they please.
Encourage them to ask any questions they
may have.
Walk around and make sure students are
on task.
Answer any questions that may arise.
Allow them 15 minutes to work on
Give them a five-minute warning when you
will be collecting.
Collect assessments.
Ask them if they would like to share out
what they wrote or ask any remaining
questions they may have.

Students Will:

Understand that they will be completing an

exit ticket and must turn it in before they
leave the classroom that day.
Receive exit ticket from teacher.
Read over instructions with teacher and ask
any questions they may have.
Understand that they are to write at least
four sentences to answer the last question.
Work on assessment.
Turn in assessment after the 15-minute
time period for work has passed.
Share out what they wrote with the class.
Ask any remaining questions they have
about the activities that took place today.


Encourage students to share out what they have learned today. Ask them to make connections to their
own lives and what they think they can do to help with the issue of poverty in their own communities as
this is leading into the next two days of the unit. Tell them to get excited about the next two days
because they will be talking about what they can do to help. Remind them that we want to be using
values thinking when addressing these topics in class this week. What we may believe might not be
what someone else believes so we must be mindful as to not offend anyone.