Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
Social Studies

Highlight a Hero

Ask students to present about a local hero they want to recognize and express gratitude towards.

Activity Partner
Total time estimate:
Activity Objectives
  • Students will identify a local hero in their community and reflect on this person’s strengths, values, and goals, conduct research to learn more about them, and create a presentation to share about their local hero
  • Then, students will consider how their own actions may impact others, and ways they can also make a positive difference in their community

This activity supports the development of the following social-emotional skills: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, self-management, and responsible decision-making.


Help students define what it means to be a “hero”, and identify local heroes in their own community. You might ask:

  • What makes someone a hero? How do their actions affect others? What motivates them?
  • What personality traits, strengths, values, or goals might they have?
  • Do only “big” actions make someone a hero, or are there smaller, everyday actions which also count?
  • Can you think of any heroes in our community? (e.g., frontline workers, educators, firefighters, healthcare employees, sanitation workers, etc.)
  • Why do you consider them a hero? How do their actions impact you?
  • What is something that you admire about them? Do you think you share anything in common with them?

Record students’ ideas on a digital or physical board, and prompt them to identify a local hero who they want to recognize and learn more about. Students may complete this project individually, or in groups of 2-4 classmates.


Once students have chosen a local hero, ask them to perform research to learn more about this person. For example, students might:

  • Interview them and ask questions about their life, accomplishments, and advice for others
  • Gather information about them (e.g., by using resources like Time for Kids, Dogo News, or Newsela to find news articles)
  • Talk to other community members about their experiences and observations

Once students have completed their research, ask them to prepare presentations about their local heroes in a format of their choice (e.g., an essay, video, poster, website, etc.) and invite them to share their presentations with your Empatico partner class over a live virtual exchange. Encourage them to reflect on similarities and differences between their local heroes, and what this reveals about each community’s experiences, values, and hopes.


Guide students through a post-activity reflection by asking the following questions:

  • What were some similarities and differences between our local heroes?
  • What did this experience teach us about our communities? Did you notice any similarities between our responses, like shared values or goals?
  • Is there something that all heroes share in common, and if so, what is it?
  • What are some ways that we can express gratitude for our local heroes? For example, can we send them a letter or postcard, create a website dedicated to them, pay them a visit, or give them a small gift?
  • Do you think you have the potential to be a hero? What are some ways that you can make a positive difference in our community?
Did you finish this activity? We'd love your input.