Sharing Responsibility

Language Arts Activity

Students write a proposal for a community project that would require both government funding and citizen participation.



  1. Tell students they are going to plan a project that their community would benefit from. Explain that the project will need some government money (up to $500) and volunteer help from citizens. As an example of such a cooperative project, tell students this true story of how a town set up a recycling center.

    About 20 citizens of the town who were very interested in recycling came together as a committee to figure out how to build a recycling center. As a result of their meeting, the committee asked the town and state governments for money to buy bins for recycling materials. They also laid out a plan describing how volunteers would run the recycling center once it was set up. The town and the state did help the volunteers, and the recycling center was opened within the year. Now, every Saturday, townspeople drive to the center to recycle many different kinds of materials.

  2. Divide students into several committees to brainstorm ideas for community projects that involve government participation and community volunteers. You may want to mention some possibilities to stimulate students' thinking: playgrounds, tree planting, crime watch, historic markers, skateboard zone, hiking trails, bike trails.

  3. Bring the class together to discuss their ideas. Encourage a discussion among the different committees to exchange ideas. Distribute the Planning form and go over it. Use the story above as a model for filling it out.

  4. After the committees have filled out the planning form, review it with each group and have them finalize it.

  5. Have a spokesperson from each committee present the project to the class.


Have class artists make a rendering of the proposed project. Display the drawings with copies of the proposals.

Explain to students what a grant application is: a request for funds. Have the committees use the completed planning form to help them write a grant request. The application should be in the form of a letter with two parts. In part 1, students describe their project and ask for money (up to $500). In part 2, they describe how community participation (volunteers, donations, collections, and so forth) will carry the project through.

If students are enthused about their project ideas, they might write their local newspaper and include their proposals for consideration by the community's adults.

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