For service clubs: Nine Month Focus

Nine Month Focus for Extra Curricular Clubs based on the film Nobelity

It is often difficult for service clubs to tap into the compassionate spirit of our students.  This Nine Month Focus activity will help students overcome feelings of helplessness by showing them how small steps will impact the globe and empower them to make decisions that move others to action.

  • Purpose:

    • To raise awareness of global problems and to underscore how small steps make a difference in students’ attitudes and the world in which we live.
  • Project:

    • The film Nobelity allows us to sit in on intimate conversations with nine Nobel Laureates. Why not take advantage of this and build a project that integrates the DVD into your service clubs? Most clubs meet at least once a month. Begin the meeting by showing one chapter of the DVD. Follow this with a discussion about the points raised and invite students to come up with service activities that will parallel the spirit of the chapter. The following month, view the next chapter, discuss and come up with activities to respond to the problem addressed. Continue this process throughout the DVD ending with Desmond Tutu’s call to love.

Possible Month by Month Activities

  • September – “Decisions”

    • (Steven Weinberg – Physics, 1979)
      • Students consider how their decisions have ramifications beyond themselves. Invite students to focus on making only positive decisions for one month. These decisions may be collaborative or individual. Create a blog that allows students to share their experiences as they struggle with the “positive only” process.
  • October – “Challenges”

    • (Richard Smalley – Chemistry, 1996)
      • Have students collaborate on a campus wide challenge. They may choose activities such as recycling, keeping the campus clean, carpooling to school, a campus wide fitness plan, etc.
  • November – “Disparities”

    • (Dr. Harold E. Varmus, Medicine, 1989)
      • Consider inequalities within the community. Students may choose to adopt a shelter, provide groceries to a food pantry, provide diapers to a women’s shelter, adopt a nursing home, etc.
  • December – “Change”

    • (Jody Williams – Peace, 1997)
      • Ask students to consider an area that needs change. Encourage them to take steps to raise awareness of this need and/or begin the process of dialogue that might lead to change. Students may lobby for healthier food in the cafeteria, begin an e-mail campaign to political leaders about a cause, work on integrating social groups at school, etc.
  • January – “Knowledge”

    • (Ahmed Zewail – Chemistry, 1999)
      • Explore the importance of knowledge from culture to culture. Consider the value knowledge has in your community. Begin a campaign focusing on an aspect of knowledge that is meaningful to students. Students may begin a local book drive for schools in need, create an awareness campaign built around a cause close to them such as eating disorders or drug abuse or large causes such as global warming, pollution, human rights around the world. Often a simple series of posters that begin with “Did You Know (fill in the blank with facts)?” are quite effective.
  • February – “Persistence”

    • (Wangari Maathai – Peace, 2004)
      • Discuss the power of persistence and the benefits of sustained efforts on our world. Students may plant trees, implement a recycling program, give up plastic water bottles, commit to a litter free campus, etc.
  • March – “Peace”

    • (Sir Joseph Rotblat – Peace, 1995)
      • Discuss the power of peaceful actions and the consequences of violence. Students may choose to hold a forum on bullying or sexual harassment, consider the effects of violence in the media, commit to a month of nonviolent language ( no gossiping, swearing, or cursing), etc.
  • April – “Reason”

    • (Amartya Sen – Economics, 1998)
      • Ask students to consider how they know what they know. Do they rely on logic, emotion, facts to make decisions? Discuss the importance of reason and how the lack of reason may lead to dangerous stereotypes, violence, and have long range consequences. Create a month long display in which students post articles that indicate a problem solved by reasonable means.
  • May – “Love”

    • (Desmond Tutu – Peace, 1984)
      • Consider the power of love and celebrate the learning and successes of the events of the past months. Students may create a video of the past year, plan a party in which they share stories of what was gained from these past months, publish a celebratory newspaper covering all these activities, distribute it campus wide and challenge next year’s class to take on this year long effort.

Think Globally, Act Locally

A Nobelity Workshop for Extra Curricular Clubs

Purpose: To raise student awareness of global issues, to create meaningful dialogue and to help students find local action that will contribute to global solutions.

Materials: Index cards, pen or pencils, marker, posters or large marker board, Nobelity DVD and DVD player.

  • Activity: As students enter the viewing area they will each receive an index card with one of the following words on it:

  • “Decisions”
  • “Challenges”
  • “Disparities”
  • “Change”
  • “Knowledge”
  • “Persistence”
  • “Peace”
  • “Reason”

Although each student is responsible for viewing the entire film, the NHS sponsor will instruct students to pay special attention to the chapter of the film that corresponds with the word on their card. They will take notes on their assigned chapter with the understanding that these notes will contribute to an activity following the viewing of the film. Their notes should focus on the main theme, important facts, and information that they find surprising.

Once the film has been viewed, the sponsor will organize students into groups determined by the word on their card. All “Decisions” students will comprise one group; all “Challenges” students will become another group, and so on.

Students will have 15 minutes to half an hour to discuss their section of the film and come up with three local activities that will address the cause and/or theme addressed in their specific sections. Sponsors should encourage students to “think globally, act locally”. All too often students become overwhelmed with global concerns and believe that their actions do not matter; here is where the sponsor can help students make the connection from small action to larger global ramifications.

Each group will nominate a speaker to present their understanding of the assigned chapter and the three ideas that move toward solution.

The sponsor should keep notes on each group’s ideas on a large chart for all to see.

Once all groups have presented their ideas; the group as a whole will vote on the ideas they wish to implement on their campus or in their community. Students may consider one focus for the year or perhaps have a different focus for each month.

After consensus has been reached, students will discuss the chapter “Love” in an open forum led by the sponsor. The “Love” conversation may lead to a discussion of ideas that lead to an end of the year celebration to highlight the successes brought about by the activities adopted by the NHS chapter.


ONE PEACE AT A TIME: Six Word Memoir

Use a single picture and only six words to express yourself in a SIX-WORD MEMOIR!

Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  Six word memoirs are sometimes sad, often funny — and always concise.

  1. View samples of 6-word memoirs to get inspiration. Additional examples of 6-word phrases can be found at
  2. After being inspired by the samples, take some time to think of what you have learned about with The Nobelity Project.  Pick an Issue and think about 6 words that you can share to express what you have learned.
  3. After deciding on the 6 words that convey the issue that most resonates with you, take some time to search for a picture/photo that might add to the feeling you are trying to convey. You can use PicNikat to add your words to the picture/photo.
  4. Share your vision—Upload your completed presentation to the Nobelity WebQuest.

Compare and Contrast Your School with Mahiga Hope

HopeShinesDennis lores
This flexible lesson plan is designed to accompany the student-friendly documentary, Building Hope: The Story of Mahiga Hope High School.   Shot in both east Kenya and Texas, the film tells the engaging story of how a determined community in rural Kenya, Africa and the Central Texas-based Nobelity Project come together, overcome obstacles, and build the first high school in the region.

Related TEKS: World Cultures (Middle School)

16) Culture. The student understands how the components of culture affect the way people live and shape the characteristics of regions.
17) Culture. World Geography (High School)
he student understands the distribution, patterns, and characteristics of different cultures.

The lesson is designed to “hook” students through their own personal experiences with school and American culture. Next, students compare their own school experience with that of students in Kenya, Africa. Lastly, students are provided with a variety of opportunities to make real world connections, think critically, and express opinions about global issues such as education and citizenship.
BUILDING HOPE Lesson-Compare and Contrast

Students will be able to…

  • Identify and document (write) various aspects of culture in rural Kenya, with a focus on school life.
  • Identify and document (write) various aspects of their own school life in Texas, United States.
  • Evaluate similarities and differences between school life in rural Kenya and Texas (the United States).
  • Formulate and express (verbally and in writing) their opinions regarding school, education, community, and citizenship.

Building Hope Activity-Compare and Contrast Viewing Handout

BUILDING HOPE Vocabulary List

Terms and definitions used in the film “Building Hope-The Story of Mahiga Hope HIgh School”. Great resource for deepening writing components and essays.

Advantage (noun)
: something (such as a good position or condition) that helps to make someone or something better or more likely to succeed than others
: a good or desirable quality or feature
: benefit or gain

Architect (noun)
: a person who designs buildings
: a person who designs and guides a plan, project, etc.

Basic Rights for Children (noun)
: the rights of children to live free from hunger, abuse, neglect, and other inhumane conditions
: the opportunity for children to participate in political and legal decisions that affect them

Budget (noun)
: an amount of money available for spending that is based on a plan for how it will be spent
: a plan used to decide the amount of money that can be spent and how it will be spent

Campaign (noun)
: a series of activities designed to produce a particular result
: a series of military battles, attacks, etc., designed to produce a particular result in a war

Caustic (adjective)
: capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue.
: severely critical or sarcastic: a caustic remark.
: a caustic substance, such as smoke (noun)

Co-Curricular Activities (adjective)
: being outside of but usually complementing the regular curriculum Conservation (noun)
: the protection of animals, plants, and natural resources
: the careful use of natural resources (such as trees, oil, etc.) to prevent them from being lost or wasted
: the things that are done to keep works of art or things of historical importance in good condition

Consumption (noun)
: the act of eating or drinking something
: the use of something (such as fuel)

Cubic meters (noun)
: a unit (as cubic inch or cubic centimeter) for measuring volume; Metric System

Customs Regulations (noun)
: rules related to the taxes or fees that are paid to the government when goods come into or go out of a country

Developing World (noun)
: the nations of the world which are less economically and technologically advanced; Third World

Donation (noun)
: something (such as money, food, clothes, etc.) that you give in order to help a person or organization
: something (such as blood or a body organ) that you give to a hospital or clinic so that it can be given to someone who needs it

Drought (noun)
: a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain

Engage (verb)
: to hire (someone) to perform a particular service
: to get and keep (someone’s attention, interest, etc.)

Equip (verb)
: to provide (someone) with necessary materials or supplies
: to provide (something) with a particular feature or ability
: to prepare (someone) for a particular activity or problem

Excavating (verb)
: to uncover (something) by digging away and removing the earth that covers it
: to dig a large hole in (something)
: to form (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by digging

Facility (noun)
: something (such as a building or large piece of equipment) that is built for a specific purpose
: something that makes an action, operation, or activity easier

Foundation trenches (noun)
: a trench built at and into the foundation of a dam and filled with clay or other impermeable substances to prevent water from seeping beneath the dam.

[Game] Sanctuary (noun)
: a place where someone or something is protected or given shelter
: the protection that is provided by a safe place
: the room inside a church, synagogue, etc., where religious services are held

[Health] Hazard (noun)
: a source of danger to the health of those exposed to it

High efficiency (noun)
: general term for technologies and processes that require less energy, water, or other inputs to operate

Hippie (noun)
: a usually young person who rejects established social customs (such as by dressing in an unusual way or living in a commune) and who opposes violence and war; especially : a young person of this kind in the 1960s and 1970s

Karibu (noun)
: means “you’re welcome” in Swahili language

Kikuyu (noun)
: a member of an indigenous people of Kenya having an agricultural economy and notable as being the originators of the Mau Mau
: the language of the Kikuyu, a Bantu language

Level 8 (noun)
: equivalent of 8th Grade in United States

Mahiga (noun)
: means “stones” or “foundation” in local Kikuyu language

Mandatory (noun)
: required by a law or rule

Mentor (noun)
: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person

Migratory routes (adjective)
: moving from one place to another at different times of the year

Model (noun)
: a usually small copy of something
: a particular type or version of a product (such as a car or computer)
: a set of ideas and numbers that describe the past, present, or future state of something (such as an economy or a business)

Motto (noun)
: a sentence, phrase, or word inscribed on something as appropriate to or indicative of its character or use
: a short expression of a guiding principle

Nĩwega (noun)
: means “thank you” in local Kikuyu language

Nobel Peace Prize (noun)
: one of six annual prizes that are awarded to people for important work in the fields of literature, physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics and for helping to bring about peace in the world

Non-profit (noun)
: not conducted or maintained for the purpose of making a profit

Obstacles (noun)
: something that makes it difficult to do something
: an object that you have to go around or over
: something that blocks your path

Pioneers (noun)
: a person who helps create or develop new ideas, methods, etc.
: someone who is one of the first people to move to and live in a new area

Poverty (noun)
: the state of being poor
: a lack of something
: the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions

Primary School (noun)
: a school for young children

Public Domain (noun)
: the state of belonging or being available to the public as a whole, and therefore not subject to copyright

RainWater Court (noun)
: water catchment system built over basketball court and sports center
: built by The Nobelity Project and Architects for Humanity

Rural (adjective)
: of or relating to the country and the people who live there instead of the city

Scholarship (noun)
: an amount of money that is given by a school, an organization, etc., to a student to help pay for the student’s education
: serious formal study or research of a subject

School fees (noun)
: money that is paid to a school for the right to study there (equivalent to tuition)

Secondary School (noun)
: a school intermediate between elementary school and college and usually offering general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory courses

Smoke Induced lung disease (noun)
: harmful deterioration of the lung brought on or caused by smoke inhalation

Solar Power (noun)
: a panel designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating

Environment Sustainability (noun)
: making responsible decisions that will reduce the negative impact on the environment.

Tertiary College (noun)
: education beyond the secondary level, especially education at the college or university level

Water Catchment (noun)
: catching or collecting of water, especially rainwater
: a structure, such as a basin or reservoir, used for collecting or draining water

Water Purification (noun)

: removing dirty or harmful substances from water

Great Resource!

I found the DVD to be the perfect springboard for getting students to think and problem solve more globally. The lesson plans take what the students learned in the classroom to solve some of the real-world problems the DVD touches upon, and in doing so, hopefully taught activism, citizenship, speaking skills, and performed a service for the Round Rock Serving Center. I have found that when you can connect the academic curriculum with the inherent caring young people have for their world, then we all end up ahead.
Joan Witkin; M. Ed.
Ridgeview Middle School

Perfect for IB

The Nobelity Project is one of the most educational and inspirational endeavors offered to America’s students today. We are challenged by the global significance and ‘international mindedness’ of the films to not only think about our world’s problems, but also to assume responsibility and take action to remedy the situation before us. We at Westwood High School—International Baccalaureate students, teachers, administrators, and parents—appreciate this opportunity to share the vision to make the world a safer, better place.”
Kathryn Fleming
IB Diploma Program Coordinator
Westwood High School

Nobelity DVD used for IB Theory of Knowledge and SAT prep

I found the Nobelity DVD intrinsically valuable as a tool for several different kind of classes. I have three preps (classes) that I utilized Nobelity, all with different aims that were absolutely met by this riveting film. In my IB Theory of Knowledge, the 44 students appreciated an international call for activism that effects all humankind; as young scholars they were impressed by the real answers to complex problems offered by the Laureates. In my SAT Prep course, the 61 students used details of each Laureate to write a pro / con paper along the SAT rubric; this infused the course with relevant issues to write about. In my Creative Writing classes, the 64 students took a phrase or quote or image that compelled them to respond with a poem or prose vignette; there were so many inspirational moments that demanded a personal response. Of course, these pragmatic uses do not dilute the thrust of the Nobelity Project, but I think, amplify and enrich its extensions to all aspects of Public School Education.
F. J. Schaack, Ph.D.
Westwood HS, International Baccalaureate Program
Austin TX


BUILDING HOPE–DVD and Lesson Plans

Dear Librarian or Social Studies Educators,

The education edition of the award-winning documentary, Building Hope: The Story of Mahiga Hope High School, is now available free of charge for use in your classrooms. Shot in both east Africa and Texas, the film tells the engaging story of how a determined community in rural Kenya and the Central Texas-based Nobelity Project come together, overcome obstacles, and build the first high school in the region.

Simply request the free DVD as a gift for your library or social studies department. It contains a 45-minute version of the film, plus 5 additional short films about related topics. The film has been edited for classroom use. Appropriate for grades 6-12, its contents are most relevant to middle school Contemporary World Cultures, and high school World History and World Geography courses.

Examples of related TEKS

Middle School (World Cultures) High School (World Geography)
(16) Culture. The student understands how the components of culture affect the way people live and shape the characteristics of regions. (17) Culture. The student understands the distribution, patterns, and characteristics of different cultures.

Examples of Curriculum Connections

  • physical and human geography
  • character, leadership, citizenship
  • global studies
  • philanthropy / advocacy / community
  • science, technology and society
  • culture (e.g., government, economics)
  • contemporary issues / current events
  • sustainable human development

Free TEKS-aligned Lesson Plans

Attached here are just a couple of samples of the free, teacher-created, classroom-tested lesson plans and materials that will be available for the 2014-2015 school year.

BUILDING HOPE Lesson-Compare and Contrast
Building Hope Activity-Compare and Contrast Viewing Handout
Building Hope Lesson Vocab list

Lessons will incorporate a variety of teaching strategies and learning styles , and all activities have real world application, with both local and global connections. The lessons can be customized to meet classroom and student needs. Resources will support a single day “stand alone” activity up to a more comprehensive unit culminating in a student-centered service learning project, 1000 Books for Hope.

We encourage you to watch the trailer, watch the film, and pass it on to the most appropriate educator on your campus. And please contact us with any questions or to request additional DVDs for your school or district. Please visit our website at www.nobelity .org for more information or give us a call at 512-263-7971. We look forward to a great year working together to inspire your students to get smart, get involved, have fun, and change the world.