Teaching Tolerance and Acceptance Through Project Based Learning

After researching the different causes and effects of homelessness, students will plan a community  for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real-world problem, while incorporating 21st century skills.

At most main intersections, you will see signs that say, "Will Work for Food!", "Former Vet", "Lost My Job", "Two Kids", "Anything Will Help." How do you react when you see a homeless person? Do you wonder if you should give them some cash, a Granola bar, or water? Or, just try to ignore him or her and act like the person isn't there. Treat the homeless as if they are invisible. We can help our students become more accepting and tolerant through project based learning.

Our homeless population is not invisible. On a given night, there are approximately 643,000 people experiencing homelessness. It's a problem being addressed in many different ways throughout the United States. In Austin, we have a one of a kind accommodation for the homeless. Community First! Village is a planned community village to provide housing the the chronically homeless and disabled. It's 27 acres is filled with mobile homes, tiny houses, services, and many different ways to provided a sense of community for the homeless.

The following video is a TED Talk by Rex Hohlbein who speaks about being more aware of the person (real people) who suffers from homelessness. By reaching out to these homeless people, Rex grew to appreciate how amazing their were.


I created a project based learning unit that gives students an opportunity to research this global problem and plan a community for the homeless. The unit is based on the concept of Community First! Village. The project not only focuses on the design of the community, it offers activities on prejudice, understanding likes and differences, and narrative and opinion writing about homelessness.

Introducing the project based learning unit

Students begin the unit by learning more about the homeless.

  • Research information about homelessness
  • Invite representatives from different organizations to speak to the students
  • Students can plan what they would like to include in their community
  • Groups will decide on the vision, mission, and Core Values for the community


After researching the different causes and effects of homelessness, students will plan a community  for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real-world problem, while incorporating 21st century skills.

Design homes for the community

Students can design a tiny house and a mobile home to house the residents of the community. I've provided websites for floor plans with furniture. Students can then create models of the homes. The community will also include recreation, arts and items to sell, and ways to involve the local community.
After researching the different causes and effects of homelessness, students will plan a community  for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real-world problem, while incorporating 21st century skills.

Activities on Acceptance and Tolerance

To further appreciate and understand others, I've provided:
  • Likes and Differences lemon/orange activity
  • Paper Plate Portrait for understanding prejudice
  • Narrative and Opinion Writing with photographs
  • Opportunities for reflection
  • PowerPoint which sparks discussion about powerful words concerning the homeless

After researching the different causes and effects of homelessness, students will plan a community  for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real-world problem, while incorporating 21st century skills.

Plan a Community incorporates technology and 21st Century Skills, collaborative learning, and provides for differentiation. Students can invite parents, classmates, and community leaders for the presentation of the project. You never know, this may be a solution to homelessness in your community. All proceeds from this project will be donated to Community First! Village in Austin.

After researching the different causes and effects of homelessness, students will plan a community for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real-world problem, while incorporating 21st century skills.

Just click HERE or on the image below to read more about the project based learning product at my TPT store.

After researching the different causes and effects of homelessness, students will plan a community for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real-world problem, while incorporating 21st century skills.


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