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Humane Quotes

Goal: Students will understand new ideas about compassion.

Grade Levels: 5th –12th grade

Time: 30 minutes or less, depending on group size

Audience Size: 5–12 students


  1. Students will explore ideas about compassion and animals through quotes.
  2. Students will practice critical thinking by interpreting the meanings behind impactful quotes.


  • 1 quote card per student. Make your own or follow this link to print and use NHES’ quote cards: Humane-Quotes1

In this activity, we’ll be examining the words and thoughts of notable people throughout history to explore ideas about compassion and animals.


  1. In advance of the activity, print and laminate cards depicting various quotes about compassion and animals. If you like, you can include biographical information on the back of the card about the person being quoted. It is okay if some of the quotes are lighthearted and even funny.
  2. Start the activity by giving each student one quote card. Take one for yourself.
  3. Allow the students ample time to read, contemplate, and mix with their peers to try to determine the meaning behind their quotes. Their goal should to be to understand the quote well enough to re-phrase it in their own words.
  4. Once students feel confident that they understand their quotes, ask everyone to sit in a circle.
  5. To begin, read your quote, and re-phrase it in your own words.
  6. Ask your students to do the same. This activity works best if you prompt students to speak one at a time, taking turns in a clockwise direction.  Many students become more nervous when asked to stand up, so to maintain a more relaxed atmosphere, allow students to remain seated in the circle while talking about their quote. After each student has explained their quote in their own words, you might ask students if they agree with the quote they just read.*Note: This exercise could also be a used as a writing prompt.


Ask students to tell you a few of the quotes they agreed with the most.

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