Pay it Forward/Random Acts of Kindness Project

  • Unit 5: Social Psychology

    Pay it Forward/Random Acts of Kindness Project



    Research suggests that people who fill their lives with random acts of kindness actually live happier lives (Sheldon, K.M., & Lyubomirksy, S. (2004)*.  Even the American Declaration of Independence proclaimed ‘the pursuit of happiness’ as a God-given right.  While much of social psychology brings attention to negative emotions and the darker human behaviors like anger, conformity, and discrimination, Positive Psychology tries to counter these negative behaviors.  Research in Positive Psychology, like leading researcher, Martin Seligman, believe that positive emotions, like happiness, lead not only to greater personal well-being, but to that of communities’ well-being as well.  Thus, the implications of Positive Psychology and happiness can foster better communities that value justice, responsibility, civility, nurturance, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, purpose, and tolerance.

    *Research highlights and rationale included in file below.

    Grade for the 3rd Quarter: Assessment (16 Points)


    Assignment/Criteria for Success:

    For the remainder of the unit (roughly two weeks), I want you to set a goal to complete 3 Random Acts of Kindness, essentially to “Pay it Forward.” I want you to attempt 3 random acts of kindness in the allotted time, today being day 1.

    ___1. Complete the ‘Set Point of Happiness’ Survey Question online when instructed by the teacher.

    ___2. Complete 3 Random Acts of Kindness. You can do this whenever you’d like as long as it is complete before the due date. 

    ___3. Complete the 'Positive Activity Implementation' Survey Question online after you complete your 3 Random Acts of Kindness.

    ___4. Label each act of kindness and write a description for each act of kindness describing the details around it: the who, what, when, where, the reaction of others, etc. In total, this should be about 1-2 pages, total (single-spaced), with at least, 3 separate entries for the attempted acts of kindness. (Please include the date and time for each random act of kindness as well.) (3 points each; 9 points total)

    ___5. Write a reflection response about your happiness at the conclusion of your acts of kindness to include considerations like: (6 points)

    • Do you feel any happier? Why or why not?
    • Are you any more motivated to help others? Why or why not?
    • Do you feel any sense that in doing something good, you made yourself actually feel good too? Explain.

    **Criteria # 4 & 5 will be turned in together.**

    ___6. Complete the ‘Final Point of Happiness’ Survey Question online when instructed by the teacher.

    ___7. Complete a Self-Assessment at the conclusion of the project. (1 point)



     Random Acts of Kindness Suggestions:

    • Pay the bill of the driver behind you at a fast food chain.
    • Volunteer to help a neighbor with outdoor work.
    • Wake up early and put a neighbor’s paper up by their door for a few days (Maybe even try it to your own parents since you’ll be able to better see their reaction, especially if you can do it without being noticed).
    • Call or visit an older family member or friend and have conversation “just to talk.”
    • Bake some goodies for a neighbor.
    • Give an extra-large tip at a restaurant you visit frequently.
    • Write a kind letter to a random person from a family address book.
    • Volunteer any amount of time at a local food bank, crisis center, animal shelter.
    • Visit a local grocery store and volunteer to help elderly/handicapped people with their groceries.
    • Any other creative ideas you may have just clear them with me.

    Do not count events such as: (Why?  Some random acts of kindness may not be large enough to produce an effect because it may be too common or experienced too frequently.)

    • Holding the door open for someone.
    • Passing out smiley-faced stickers
    • Leaving a lucky penny in a parking lot for someone to find “Lincoln faced-up.”




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