Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

What's in a Garden?
Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


In planning their act of philanthropy, students will identify types of gardens and discuss what is practical for the garden they are planning to build.


Two Forty-Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • research different types of gardens.
  • make research-based decisions on what will go into the garden.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

Students are making decisions related to their gift of a garden to the community.


  • Magazines or reference books related to gardening
  • Photographs of gardens
  • Internet access

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Remind students of their chosen purpose for their garden as a gift to the community. Ask them to brainstorm on what kinds of plant material might be suitable for their garden.


  • Have students use gardening magazines, photographs, and the Internet to compare different types of gardens. They should note what is recommended for various uses of gardens.

  • A landscape artist, garden club member or representative of a local gardening store may be invited to come in and talk about planning a garden. If this option is used, make sure students have a list of questions ready to ask when the speaker is ready for questions. Suggestions for questions might include:
    • How are gardens laid out?
    • Where should plants be planted? (Shorter plants in front, rows versus broadcasting for naturalization, etc.)
    • What plants grow best in this area?
    • How do you prepare to start the garden?

  • After the area for a garden has been selected, discuss various types of gardens. Remind students of the purpose of their garden. Is it to be a quiet area, bird sanctuary, a recreational area, or how is it to be used?

  • After the students have studied the magazines, etc., and/or listened to the landscape artist or garden club member, have students work in pairs to draw a picture of what they think the garden should look like. Discuss the pictures with the students. Have them identify the best parts of each plan.


  • Pictures the students made can be used to assess whether the students are actively involved in the discussion.
  • Students will write a paragraph in their journals giving their recommendation on how their garden should be laid out.
  • The teacher may observe students' participation as a form of assessment.

School/Home Connection:

None for this lesson.

Bibliographical References:

None for this lesson.

Lesson Developed By:

Christine Makinen
Kaleva Norman Dickson Schools
Wellston Elementary School
Wellston, MI 49689


Philanthropy Framework:


Wendy, Teacher Muskegon, MI9/18/2007 11:39:53 AM

Great! We are collecting money for (to buy) native plants. The students have to do a job (work) in the neighborhood or in their house.

Submit a Comment

All rights reserved. Permission is granted to freely use this information for nonprofit (noncommercial), educational purposes only. Copyright must be acknowledged on all copies.