It Is a Small World
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.7 Define and describe private property and common resources.
      2. Benchmark E.9 Identify the "commons" in the school and neighborhood.
  2. 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.3 Define stewardship and give examples.

This unit helps students recognize that they belong to a global community that shares resources and interests. Learners define "commons" and understand the difference between common resources and private property. The learners define stewardship and environmental stewardship. They will compare and contrast "common" and "private" resources.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • describe a variety of natural features (not human made) of the world.
  • differentiate between common resources  and private property
  • determine responsibility for caring for common resources
  • Shrinky Dinks plastic film sheets (available at Amazon or local craft store); cut into 1” x 2” pieces for students; use a hole punch to make a hole near the top of the narrow end. Alternative Note: a Styrofoam cup shrinks in a 250 degree oven (place decorated cup bottom-side-up on a cookie sheet).
  • Blue and green colored pencils
  • Access to a toaster oven or oven to shrink the Shrinky Dinks
  • Thin string, yarn or ribbon for necklace
  • A world globe or pictures of the earth (see Bibliographical References)
  • Drawing paper for each student

Pictures of the Earth from Space 

Morris, Ann. Bread, Bread, Bread (Around the World Series)  Ann Morris. HarperCollins (May 21, 1993) ISBN-10: 0688122752 ISBN-13: 978-0688122751

Morris, Ann. Houses and Homes (Around the World Series) HarperCollins; 1st Mulberry Ed edition (March 29, 1995) ISBN-10: 9780688135782  ISBN-13: 978-0688135782

Morris, Ann. On the Go (Around the World Series)  HarperCollins; 1st Mulberry Ed edition (August 25, 1994) ISBN-10: 9780688136376  ISBN-13: 978-0688136376

Morris, Ann. Families (Around the World Series) HarperCollins (March 1, 2000) ISBN-10: 0688171982  ISBN-13: 978-0688171988

Morris, Ann. Hats, Hats, Hats (Around the World Series) HarperCollins (May 21, 1993) ISBN-10: 9780688122744  ISBN-13: 978-0688122744

  1. Anticipatory Set

    Give each child a 1 inch by 2 inch rectangle of Shrinky Dink plastic with a hole at one end. They will be making world necklaces with this material that shrinks to about half the size when it is heated. Show the students a globe and explain that it is a model of our earth. (If a globe is not available show pictures of the earth taken from space.) Tell youth to use blue and green colored pencils to draw a simple globe on their Shrinky Dink film. They should add their initials for identification. (Follow the instructions on the packaging for shrinking theplastic filmin an oven or toaster oven.) After the pendants are shrunk, help the children string their pendants and wear their small worlds as necklaces.

  2. Show youth a globe or picture of earth from spaceand ask them what they think it means when people say, “It’s a small world.” Ask the learners if they have ever been far from home when they saw someone or something familiar from home. Listen to a few stories or tell one of your own. Tell them that people say the world seems small when this happens. Talk about why that makes the world seem smaller.

  3. Ask children to look at tags in their clothing for countries around the world. List the countries from which the clothing came. Find those locations on the map and reflect on the fact that we wear clothes that were made all over the world. Talk about how those items of clothing go to the store where they were purchased. Relate transportation and communication to what that makes the world seem smaller.

  4. Also, tell the students that the world seems small when we realize we share resources with or feel connected to people from all over the globe.

  5. Ask students to think about some of the things in theschool that are shared or "common" resources (computers, playground equipment, drinking fountain, restrooms) and some things thatare private resources or belong just to them (lunch bag/box, backpack, pencil). Tell the students that in some cases "common" resources are shared by all people around the globe. Point to places around the globe and name some things we share. For example, we share the same stars with people in Chile or we share the same water supply with people in Kenya. Talk about why that makes the world seem smaller.

  6. Ask: When resources are shared in the school community or in the world community, like playground equipment and water and air, why is it importantfor all members of the community to be good stewards (take care of) the resources?

  7. Distribute drawing paper and ask the students to fold it into two sections. Ask them to write the word "Commons" on one section and to draw a picture of something in the school or community that everyone shares. On the second section ask the students to label it as "Private" and draw a picture of something that belongs to them alone. Allow students to share their pictures with their classmates.


Assess student understanding by their ability to draw and dialogue about common and private resources.


Ask: Can you ever think of a time when you might decide to share what you drew on the "private" section of you paper? When? Why?