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

What We Can Do!
Lesson 4
From Unit: Citizenship
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Protecting and preserving our natural resources is one of the responsibilities of an American citizen. This concept is defined in a way that children can relate it to their own lives. Ways in which children can help to protect and conserve our natural resources are explored.


One Forty to Fifty-Minute Class Period


The learner will:

  • define natural resources and give examples.
  • generate ideas of ways to conserve, preserve and protect our natural resources.

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 will take home the books they have made about protecting and preserving our natural resources. They will be sharing them with their families to remind them of this important citizen responsibility. A note will be sent home to parents to explain the expectations of their child in presenting the book to them.


  • The books The Lorax and 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth (see Bibliographical References)
  • The book Our Planet: Earth (see Bibliographical References)
  • Each student will need a book made out of two 8 ½ x 11 inch sheets of paper. Fold the papers together and staple the middle to make a book 5 ½ x 8 inches.
  • Crayons, pencils, markers
  • Sharing Our Learning Letter (Attachment One)
Handout 1
Sharing Our Learning Letter
Handout 2
¡Qué Podemos Hacer Nosotros!

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Name three or four natural resources (water, coal, trees, copper) and ask students what they have in common.

  • Read the book Our Planet: Earth. Pause at page 24. Ask and tell: What do the words “natural resources” mean? Hear student responses. Look at each word separately. What does “natural” mean? (It comes from nature.) What are “resources?” (things we use). Natural resources are things we use that come from nature. Ask: Does anyone remember what we learned about natural resources yesterday? (We all share our natural resources. It is everyone’s responsibility to take care of them.)

  • Continue reading the book Our Planet: Earth. Pause again at pages 30 - 31 and ask, “What can you do?” As you read through the ideas on these two pages, brainstorm with students on other ways they could help.
    • Trees - What else do we get from trees? (paper, wood, food like nuts and maple syrup) What else could you do to save trees? (Don’t waste paper; write on both sides of paper; recycle paper; be careful about forest fires.)
    • Water - How do we use water? (drinking, washing, cooking) Can we live without water? (No)
      Are there any other ways to save water besides what was named in the book? (take short showers; collect rain water to water your garden)

  • Tell the class to think of some of the ways to take care of our natural resources. Ask: What ways would you like to share with your family? We will be making a “What We Can Do” book. Give each student  the pre-made books to the students. Instruct the students to write the title “What We Can Do” and their name on the cover.

  • On the three remaining pages in the book, tell the students to write and illustrate their conservation ideas. They must label the natural resource that they are addressing on each page before writing their helpful idea, e.g., Water is a natural resource. Don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth. Trees are a natural resource... Note: Kindergarten students could just illustrate their books and tell about their drawings. Second graders’ books could be made out of three pages of paper instead of two. This would give them five pages on which to write their conservation ideas.

  • When the books are written and illustrated, break the class into groups of four. Tell the students that they will take their books home to share with their families. Instruct the students to practice reading their books to each other. At this time the teacher should model the delivery of the book while encouraging the students to be sure to tell about the natural resource being addressed. Distribute Sharing Our Learning Letter (see Attachment One) to all students and explain that it should be returned with a signature


  • Students will be graded using the following scoring guide. Allow a point for a title on the cover, each page with an illustration, each page with a conservation idea and each page with the words natural resources, for a maximum of ten points. Students will also be assessed on the signed and returned note from a parent or adult family member.

Bibliographical References:

Earthworks Group, The. 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. Earthworks Press, 1995. ISBN-13: 978-1879682603 

Feder-Feitel, Lisa. Our Planet: Earth. New York: Scholastic, 1993.
ISBN: 0-590-47139-2.

Seuss, Dr. The Lorax. Random House Books for Young Readers, 1971. ISBN-13: 978-9650706005


Lesson Developed By:

Lynn Chamberlain
Central Elementary School
Munising Public Schools
Munising, MI 49862


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Sharing Our Learning Letter

Dear                               :

My class has been learning about citizenship. We have learned that as an American citizen, we have certain rights and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to protect and preserve our natural resources.

My assignment in Part One is to read my book, What We Can Do! to you. I must remember to use the words natural resources to describe air, water, soil and trees. We will work together to complete Part Two.

I hope you enjoy my presentation. This sheet needs to be returned to school on :



Student's signature


Part One Objectives:

The learner will:

  1. read his/her book What We Can Do! to an adult family member.
  2. explain the meaning of natural resources to an adult family member.
  3. share conservation ideas with an adult family member.

Part Two:

  1. Discuss other natural resources not addressed in the book (air, water, soil, trees).
  2. Make a list of additional conservation ideas to protect and preserve our natural resources.
  3. Tell the whole family about your conservation ideas.

School/Home Communication:

Dear _________________________________:

Please let me know if this homework was helpful to you and your child by writing YES or NO after each statement.

  1. My child understood the homework and was able to discuss it.
  2. My child enjoyed this activity.
  3. I enjoyed this activity.
  4. This activity helped me understand what my child is learning in social studies.

Your additional comments are always welcomed!



(Teacher's Signature)



Adult's Signature:

Handout 2Print Handout 2

¡Qué Podemos Hacer Nosotros!


Estimado/a              :
Mi clase ha estado aprendiendo acerca de la ciudadanía. Hemos aprendido que como cuidadanos americanos tenemos ciertos derechos y responsabilidades. Una de esas responsabilidades es proteger y preservar nuestros recursos naturales.
Mi tarea en la Parte Uno es leerle a un adulto en la familia, mi libro, Qué Podemos Hacer! Debo recordar usar las palabras recursos naturales para describir el aire, agua, tierra y árboles. Trabajaremos juntos para completar la Parte Dos.
Espero que disfrute mi presentación. Este papel tiene que regresar a la escuela el:
Firma del estudiante
Objetivos de la Parte Uno:
El estudiante:
  1. Leerá su libro Qué Podemos Hacer! a un adulto en la familia.
  2. Explicará el significado de recursos naturales a un adulto en la familia.
  3. Compartirá ideas con un adulto en la familia acerca de cómo conservar.
Parte Dos:
  1. Discutirá otros recursos naturales no mencionados en el libro (aire, agua, tierra, árboles).
  2. Hará una lista de ideas adicionales de cómo conservar, proteger y preservar nuestros recursos naturales.
  3. Presentará a toda la familia sus ideas de cómo conservar. 
Comunicación entre la escuela y el hogar:
Estimado ___________________________
Por favor déjeme saber si esta tarea fue de ayuda para usted y su hijo/a. Escriba SI o NO después de cada oración.
  1. Mi hijo/a entendió la tarea y pudo discutirla.
  2. Mi hijo/a disfrutó esta actividad.
  3. Yo disfruté esta actividad.
  4. Esta actividad me ayudó a entender qué es lo que mi hijo/a está aprendiendo en Estudios Sociales.
Sus comentarios adicionales son siempre bienvenidos.
(Firma del maestro/a)
Firma de un adulto

Philanthropy Framework:


Mary, Teacher – Albion, MI12/12/2007 10:48:59 AM

We use this unit as part of our required Social Studies curriculum. We love LTG Units for strengthening our curriculum and helping children to learn the meaning of philanthropy.

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Citizenship Summary


We Have Rights
Community Chain
What We Can Do!

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