Back to Lessons

What Would You Do?

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle/High School Language Arts, History

Objectives
Students will:
• Identify the values of a Medal of Honor recipient and a Citizen Service Before Self Honoree.
• Examine and analyze how a person faces danger.

Citizen Service Before Self Honoree Focus:
 Jencie Fagan, Middle School Teacher, Reno, Nevada


For the Teacher:

Explained physiologically, the systems and functions of our body change during a threatening situation.
The change relates to the part of our brain known as the hypothalamus which discharges chemical releases
preparing the body for such reaction. This concept of survival technique applies during a dangerous situation
when humans are prompted to prepare physically for any form of attack like when walking down a dark and
deserted area and another person unexpectedly appears. This response is designed to shield humans from
unwanted hazards. This response is also true in situations where physical reaction is not always necessary,
such as that of a stressful day in the office or heavy traffic situations. Such a response is not just a protection
for physical attack, but also for emotional triggers.

Introductory Activity:
Discuss the events that propel people confronting dangerous situations. Talk about the fight/flight defense
response that is the body’s natural reaction and a form of defense strategy to a possible threat or danger.
Students will describe in one or two paragraphs a situation where either they or somebody else demonstrated
courage in the face of danger.

Small Group Activity:

Students will compare their responses about courage and discuss the circumstances of the action. They
will explain what the outcome of the situation was and its connection to the fight or flight response.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will view the vignette about Jencie Fagan, Citizen Service Before Self Honoree. The teacher and
students will discuss her fight or flight response and her subsequent act of courage.

Concluding Activity:
Students will write a one-page summary about the vignette featuring Jencie Fagan and her act of courage.
Students may reflect on how they would have reacted in a similar situation.

Assessment:
Responses, essay

Resources:
Citizen Honors
http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Cannons_theory

Citizen Honors - Jencie Fagan

Additional Resources