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What Is A Hero?

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School History

Students will:
• Demonstrate their knowledge of the characteristics of a Medal of Honor recipient by reflecting on the traits of recipients.
• Create a connection from past to present.

Medal of Honor Focus: Sammy L. Davis, First Class, U.S. Army Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division / Vietnam War

Introductory Activity:
The teacher will introduce the lesson by guiding a discussion about the qualities of a hero. Students will brainstorm
names of heroes they know and others whom they consider heroes. A distinction will be made between fictional and
real heroes. Discussion will be guided to reflect the values of Medal of Honor recipients: sacrifice, commitment integrity,
patriotism, citizenship, and courage.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will reach a common definition of the six values of a Medal of Honor recipient, sacrifice, commitment, integrity,
patriotism, citizenship, and courage. These definitions will be written on the board or on poster paper.

Students will watch a vignette of a Medal of Honor recipient to look for examples of the values mentioned above.

Teachers will guide the discussion after the vignette and record what the recipient did that fits into each of the six
categories. Students will record responses on the board or on the poster paper.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Students will choose a hero from today and make a chart about their hero. Their hero should be one that they feel
demonstrates the values mentioned above. Students must be able to provide evidence about how their hero demonstrates
those values.

Students will write each value and its common definition. They will write what they feel their hero does to demonstrate
those characteristics. Students will draw a picture of their hero and tell who he/she is. There will be space to write why
students chose this individual for their hero.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will present their hero chart. After the presentation, students will list who their hero is and what the
hero does to fit into each value.

Concluding Activity:
The charts will be hung in the room.

Chart, definition, lists

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.

Note: For information on another version of the chart, teachers may visit

In Their Own Words