Flowers and a Beautiful World (1st Grade)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
This lesson demonstrates to the learners that by enhancing and caring for the environment they are performing acts of philanthropy.
PrintOne 30 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • respond to the story Miss Rumphius by describing the main character's actions and motivations.
  • brainstorm ideas for volunteering for the common good to make the world more beautiful.
  • define philanthropy as giving of time, talent, and treasure for the common good.
  • Rose petals and a pretty flower
  • Copy of the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Clooney
  1. Anticipatory Set: Have the students sit on the floor together. Tell them to close their eyes as you walk by and rub soft rose petals on their hands or cheeks or hold a fragrant flower near their noses. When they open their eyes, show them a beautiful, colorful flower. Tell the students that they used their senses to observe the beauty of a flower. Tell them that flowers have other jobs, but one job is to make the world a more beautiful place. Ask the students to name their favorite flowers.

  2. Show the cover of the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Clooney (see Bibliographical References). Tell the students that the flowers on the cover are called lupines. Tell the students that this is a story about a philanthropist who made the world more beautiful. A philanthropist is someone who gives her time, talent, and treasure for the common good of her community. Tell students to listen for how and why she did this. Read the book to the students.

  3. While you are reading, stop periodically to ask the students to describe Miss Rumphius. Write their descriptive words on the board (e.g. brave, creative, smart, selfless, etc.).

  4. After reading, discuss the following questions:

    • Why did Mrs. Rumphius want to do something to make the world more beautiful?
    • How did her grandfather inspire her?
    • How did Miss Rumphius share her time, talent, and treasure for the common good? (She shared her time by planting her seeds, her talent of gardening, and her treasure of her seeds.) Discuss the definition of philanthropy (sharing time, talent, or treasure or taking action for the common good).
    • Has anyone ever inspired you? (such as brothers or sisters who are good at sports)
    • What choice did Miss Rumphius have? Do you think choice is important when you are a philanthropist, or is it better if someone tells you what to do?
    • Was Miss Rumphius selfish or selfless with her time, talent, and treasures? Give some evidence for your answers.
    • How did she show commitment to her work of making the world more beautiful?
  5. Discuss how Miss Rumphius was working alone, but as a member of a community. What community job did she hold? How did she help people? When she traveled, did she become part of other communities? What communities do you belong to?

  6. Tell the students that the class has an opportunity to be philanthropists in their community like Miss Rumphius. Ask the students whether they think their actions will inspire other students to look for ways to help.

  7. Brainstorm with students possible service projects for the environment that make the world more beautiful. This may include planting, weeding, cleaning garbage out of a natural place, bringing potted plants to people, or doing something unrelated to flowers. Remember to also think of beauty that you cannot see (love, kindness, clean air, etc.).


Assessment is based on student participation in class discussions.


Draw an outline of a person. By the head, write or draw what you think of your environmental action. By the heart, draw how you feel. By the hands, write what you did. By the feet, write your next steps.