Hope for a Bright Future

Objectives for Elementary School Students

  • Compare and contrast children’s livesin Ethiopia and in the U.S.
  • Analyze statistical data and draw conclusions.
  • Reinforce math skills through diagrams, graphs, and charts.
  • Create an awareness project through creativity and teamwork.

Materials: Healthy plant, empty plant pot, world map or globe, paper, crayons

Build Background

(Duration: 30 min. - 1 hr.)

Discuss what healthy plants/children need. Ask, “What does a plant need to grow? What do children need to grow?” Record responses on the board and compare the two. Explain that in many countries, many children don’t have schools, clean water, or doctors. Visit Smile Train's Ethiopia page to learn more. Display a world map or globe and point to Ethiopia, saying, “Ethiopia is a country in Africa. Many children in Ethiopia don’t have schools, clean water, or access to doctors. What would happen if you didn’t have a school? Clean water? Access to doctors?

Make Connections

(Duration: 1 - 2 hr.)

Explain what a cleft lip/palate is, using the data on Smile Train’s General Information About Cleft Lip and Palate page. Encourage children to think about who helps children born with cleft lip/palate in the U.S. Then ask, “What can families of children in Ethiopia do if their child is born with a cleft lip/palate? What if they don’t have access to a doctor?” Show students how to make pie charts that demonstrate that 100% of children in the U.S. have access to schools, clean water, and doctors while in Ethiopia only about 40% of children do.

Class Project

(Duration: 2 hrs.)

Place students in small groups; assign each group either the U.S. or Ethiopia. Ask the groups to create picture books about a child in that country getting cleft lip/palate treatment. Students can print their favorite photos and stories from the ‘Our Stories’ section on Smile Train website. Students will share their books with other classes during reading circles at the school library. Invite guest students to donate $1 to Smile Train when they come to the reading circles. Students can collect the money in a flowerpot, a Smile Train donation box or through an online fundraising page.