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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

Giving Back


Sure you've heard of the March of Dimes® but what does an organization that was initially formed to fight polio have to do with dimes?  Take a look at how this name came about.  The name "March of Dimes" was developed by a famous comedian/radio announcer of the early 1900s.  On a radio program, this entertainer invited all Americans to send their spare dimes to the White House to help with the funding of polio research.  The White House soon began receiving approximately 150,000 letters a day, each containing a dime.


Have your students try to figure out how much money would have been collected in a week if the White House was receiving 150,000 dimes a day.  How much money would have been collected over the course of a month?  A year?

Can your students think of any other programs where money is collected to help fund a specific organization?  You might mention programs such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) or the recently created "America's Fund for Afghan Children."  Have they ever collected money to help support a charity?  What was the cause?

Decide on a cause that means something special to the students in your class.  As a class, discuss ways in which your class could support a charitable organization (either through raising money, or performing a charitable act).  For instance, if your students are particularly concerned with the environment, your students could collect newspapers or aluminum cans for recycling.

Set a goal for your students to reach over the course of the year.  When they reach this goal, celebrate by doing something relating to your cause such as planting a tree!


Have your students examine the success of their charitable project by recording a particular variable on a graph (if they collect newspapers, have them graph the number of papers they collect each week).  Plan different activities that relate to their efforts (such as a paper drive) and discuss as a class how that affected their numbers.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Mathematics Standards

Data Analysis and Probability:  Students will collect and record data related to the actions that they are taking.

Social Studies Standards

Civic Ideals and Practices:  Students will examine an issue of public concern and take action to address that issue.  They will also see the benefits of their actions in relationship to the welfare of our society.

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