Thanksgiving has always been known as the season of gratitude. It’s a chance to slow down, relax, and appreciate the many things in life that we often take for granted. Unfortunately, we also must recognize that not everyone is in a position to celebrate this holiday season. These last few years have been particularly difficult, and many of the challenges we encountered have yet to be completely resolved. Thankfully, we possess a resource with the potential to create new and dynamic solutions to these persistent problems – students!

Every teacher knows that their students have the energy, creativity, and grit to change our world for the better, and right now, there are a lot of people who could use a helping hand. Maybe you know a community that’s been devastated by a natural disaster, or perhaps a local veteran who can’t be home with their family during Thanksgiving? Are your students passionate about protecting the planet or do they want to give a disadvantaged individual the opportunity to start their own business? Whatever their cause, you can mobilize your classroom to lend a hand while also teaching them important lessons about science, mathematics, and more! Here are just a few ways you can get started:

  • Fish Out of Water: This game teaches students about natural resources and capital goods through a fast, fun, action-oriented engineering activity. Students are tasked with catching (fake) fish using a variety of different resources. The snag is the best resources are too expensive to afford. After a few minutes of effort, provide students with a small loan that allows them to buy the Ultimate Fish Catcher of Doom. This activity is the perfect introduction to cooperative economics and microloans.
  • Craft a PSA: Encourage students to make an engaging, informative PSA about the charity of their choice. After teaching students about the characteristics of an effective public service announcement, give them the opportunity to create their own. Students can create a poster, a persuasive video, or even a podcast where they encourage others to lend a hand.
  • Start a Letter Campaign: Our leaders are elected to represent the people, and a big part of politics is letting them know what you care about! Have your students pick an issue that matters to them and compose a thoughtful, respectful letter to their local congressman. This allows students to practice their spelling and vocabulary while also taking a stand for something they care about.
  • Pitch a Fundraiser: Set up your classroom for a fundraiser pitch competition and welcome local judges to pick a winner. First, have students select a charitable cause to raise money for (such as a microloan from Kiva). Then, have them pitch their fabulous fundraiser ideas. If they need help sparking their creativity, consider some of these to get things started.

If you found these activities helpful, consider checking out the Blue Apple project, Lend a Hand. Blue Apple is a provider of project-based learning units which help make learning memorable, meaningful, and fun! Working with your classroom, you could make a real difference to someone in need this Thanksgiving. Just imagine if thousands of students like yours, all around the country, made small investments today that would have an immense impact on communities around the world. What an incredible way to make positive change!

For more educational resources, check out these free tools and strategies from Blue Apple!

*Image courtesy of Rufino via Wikimedia Commons.