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The Sacrifices We Make

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School Social Studies, Language Arts

One Class Session

Students will:

  • discuss examples of sacrifice in relationship to community

Medal of Honor Focus: John Hawk, U.S. Army, World War II (Europe)

Introductory Activity:
The teacher will display John Hawk’s words on the board: “The worst thing that can happen to a human being is to have to take the life of another human being.” The teacher will lead students in a discussion about the quotation and its possible meaning.

Whole Group Activity:
Write the word “sacrifice” on the board. Have students brainstorm ideas about sacrifice. Develop a definition of the term as a group.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Have students write a minimum of five lines about a sacrifice that they have witnessed. Students will then pair up and share their writing. Have volunteers read their responses to the group.

Whole Group Activity:
Watch the video for John Hawk. Have students watch for examples of sacrifice based on the common definition the class agreed upon earlier in the lesson. 

Concluding Activity:
Students will write a response to the following questions/prompts:

  • How does Jon Hawk’s story demonstrate sacrifice for his unit and his country?
  • How does his action affect the community at home and his comrades?
  • Discuss community and how acts of sacrifice affect a community.
  • Discuss the quotation used in the beginning of the class and its meaning now that the video has been viewed.

Answers to video questions, examples of sacrifice

John Hawk Living History video

Extended Activity:
Visit local graves of service members or a Medal of Honor Recipient, if there is one in your area, and place flowers or a wreath. Research the service members.

Living History Video