Poverty Cycle Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to help you teach your students about the poverty cycle. Students will read a text lesson that defines the concept and explains the cycle. Discussion questions and active learning make concepts stick and a quiz allows you to assess understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'poverty' and 'poverty cycle'
  • explain the poverty cycle and its impact
  • discuss methods of breaking the poverty cycle


1 - 1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Cycle of poverty
  • Poverty
  • Absolute poverty

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


  • Write the guiding question 'How does poverty affect people?' on the board.
  • Break students into small groups and have them answer and discuss the question, recording their answers as they go.
  • Discuss and answer the question as a whole group, guiding students to understand that poverty can be both short and long-term and affects health, education, where one lives, and their future opportunities.
  • Preview and define vocabulary words then write 'Cycle of Poverty' on the board and have students copy into notebooks.

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