Changing the World: Social Entrepreneurs Part Two

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, March 11, 2008

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Design for the Other 90%

Subject Area

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

Two fifty-minute class periods


Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s Design for the Other 90% exhibition demonstrates how design can be a dynamic force in saving and transforming lives, at home and around the world. Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted. In fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.” In this two-part lesson, students will examine the world of social entrepreneurs and their efforts to create positive change in society.

National Standards

Common Core English Language Arts
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards
Strand Reading
Language Arts - Reading
Language Arts - Writing
Working With Others
Business Education

Common Core State Standards:

Anchors for Reading

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will:
• investigate the Design for the Other 90% exhibition • conduct internet research • participate in small-group and large-group discussion • work collaboratively in small groups • create a class seminar presentation



Computer with internet access


Building Background Activity One: Learning About the Social Entrepreneurs
The purpose of this activity is to give students an opportunity to learn about the work of social entrepreneurs.
1. As a class, visit the following PBS Web site on social entrepreneurs at 2. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one of the social entrepreneur listed below. They should use these websites to research and create a brief presentation about the person for the class. Group One: Dr. Muhammad Yunus Group Two: David Green Group Three: Ron Rivera “Potters for Peace” Provide time for each group to share its presentation.
Activity Two: Exploring the Design for the Other 90% Solutions
The purpose of this activity is for students to learn about the companies who have designed solutions for the challenges presented in the Design for the Other 90% exhibition.
1. Divide the class into small groups. Visit the list of solutions on the Design for the Other 90% website at each group research five companies or organizations and write a brief paragraph explaining their missions and goals. 2. Compile a class resource of all the company and organization descriptions to use in the next part of the lesson.
Steps for Learning Activity One: Seminar Design
The purpose of this activity is for students to design a seminar on social entrepreneurship. 1. Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a copy of the “Social Entrepreneur Seminar” handout.
2. Invite others in the school and community to view the students’ seminar. 3. After the seminar presentations, lead a class discussion based on the following questions:
  • What did you learn from your classmates’ presentations?
  • What was the best part of each presentation?
  • How did the presentations highlight different aspects of social entrepreneurship?
  • What different methods did your classmates use in their presentations?


Create a class rubric with your students that will help them understand the effectiveness of their work. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.
  • Rate the effectiveness of your presentations on social entrepreneurs.
  • Rate the effectiveness of your class resource compilation.
  • Rate the effectiveness of your brainstorming.
  • Rate the quality of your analysis of the elements needed to create your seminar.
  • Rate the creativity of your presentation.
  • Rate the overall quality of your presentation.
  • Rate how well your group was able to collaborate.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Encourage your students to learn about microfinance. Have them use the following resources to begin researching:
Differentiation for Middle School

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