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Building to Prosperity Student Guide

What does it mean to live a prosperous life?

What role do social safety nets play in a prosperous society?

How do people rise out of poverty in prosperous societies? 

In this activity, you will…
  • define key terms: prosperity, poverty and social safety net.
  • analyze examples of government approaches to providing equal access to prosperity.
  • consider the role innovation has played in helping people achieve prosperity
  • analyze examples of charitable/philanthropic approaches to helping people rise out of poverty to prosperity.
  • analyze social programs and their effectiveness at minimizing poverty.


Directions: As you watch the Prosperity video, think about what prosperity means or looks like to you or how it might be achieved.


Directions: As you watch the video on Poverty, consider the following questions: How has the United States tried to combat poverty? Name at least two ways. What has been the result?


Directions: Visit the webpage ( and answer the following questions.

Poverty in the U.S. Webquest

Who makes up the top 4 groups of impoverished Americans?


Where is poverty most common in the United States?


Briefly summarize the causes and effects of poverty in America.
Poverty and Education
Poverty and Health
Poverty and Food
Poverty and Crime



Directions: Research your assigned program/innovation. Use the provided link(s) to learn about the purpose of the program, as well as to brainstorm benefits and costs/outcomes of the programs.


What is it? Who does it help and why? What are the pros/cons?

Group A

Social Security 


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 


Group B

Delancey Street Foundation 

The DOE fund

Give Directly 

Group C

Task Rabbit 

Life Straw 



Directions: After you have researched your approach to addressing poverty, you will engage with representatives of the other groups to understand their position.  Then you will discuss all of the approaches and come to a consensus of the most innovative and strongest approach to addressing poverty in your community.

Round 1: Group ___ Sharing

What is Group ___’s position on addressing poverty?
What clarifying questions do you have?

Round 2: Group ___ Sharing

What is Group ___’s position on addressing poverty?
What clarifying questions do you have?

Round 3: Consensus Building

Based on what you’ve heard so far, which approach do YOU think is most innovative and strongest for your community?  What evidence do you have?


Work with the rest of your group to develop a consensus to the question: 



Additional Activities