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Lessons - Elementary school

Provide students with an understanding of the importance of shelter as a basic human need
Help them develop an understanding of the wide-ranging effects of homelessness and the lack of proper housing and why some people need housing assistance. With this understanding, students will be more likely to empathize with people who live in these situations and develop the desire to give back to the community.

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Teacher’s Overview
Included in this curriculum package are three teaching units for grades 3–5. The units have been designed to help students deepen their understanding of poverty housing as they progress through each unit.

Unit 1: What Is Home?
In Unit 1, students investigate and answer questions about the meaning of a home, essential characteristics of homes and the difference between wants and needs, particularly as they apply to the places we live.

Unit 2: The Many Faces of Need
Unit 2 helps students develop an understanding of why some people need housing assistance and of the wide variety of people who can benefit from housing assistance (i.e., the “many faces”).

Unit 3: Giving Back to the Community
This unit helps students understand the benefits of giving back to the community, both for the volunteer and the recipient. In this unit, students investigate the Habitat for Humanity International Web site and then create a promotional brochure based on information they have learned.

What is home?
In this lesson, students read and discuss interviews on the concept of home. Students interview subjects outside the classroom to gather more ideas about what home means to different people.

At home around the world
In this lesson, students read about types of housing in different nations, the housing issues faced in these areas of the world and how Habitat for Humanity has been able to help.

Volunteers: changing the world
Students will learn about volunteering, why people do it and how volunteering benefits individuals, communities and society at large. Students will then participate in a volunteer project.

Made in the shade
Students will learn how trees and landscaping can help cut housing costs. They will research and create a tree-planting tip sheet for local Habitat for Humanity builders and partner families to use when landscaping new homes.

Affordable housing
In this lesson, students will learn about the realities of affordable housing through reading an article and playing a game based on hypothetical situations.

Spread the word
Students will learn about advocacy through their reading and class discussion. They will put their new knowledge into practice by writing a message to a politician about the importance of decent, affordable housing.

Building green
In this lesson, students will learn about building practices that save energy and lessen the impact on the environment. They will write about their “dream green” home and draw diagrams and illustrations showing the home’s features.

What is a neighborhood?
In this lesson, students will explore the nature and components of a neighborhood, including the neighborhood(s) where they live and attend school. They will identify and discuss neighborhood issues with an alderperson or other neighborhood representative.