Private Land Decision-Making
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.

Learners will investigate various private property land use practices and describe how they impact the common good.

PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • create a visual design of private property land use.
  • list positive and negative effects of human land-use decisions.
  • describe how positive land-use decisions contribute to the common good.
  • Drawing paper, drawing pencils and colored pencils, rulers
  • Multiple sets of Needs of Life (Handout One), cut into squares, enough squares for each student to have about 3 or 4 squares, not a full set for each student
  • Multiple copies of Scenario Cards (Handout Two)
Home Connection: 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:In preparation for this lesson, the learners will converse with parent(s), relatives or friends about the size of their property or a property they would like to own, and work with their family member to draw the various land uses including home structures, gardens and, in the case of large tracts of land, agricultural or other land uses.

  1. Teacher Note: Learners need to complete the following homework assignment prior to the lesson. Using paper, pencil and colored pencils, have the learners draw a picture of their family’s private property and its land-use practices. If they do not own property they may draw a picture using a friend or relative’s property. Ask them to include buildings, sidewalks, parking areas, gardens, orchards or other land-use practices.

    Anticipatory Set:

    Have the learners form a large circle with their backs to the center of the circle. Place in the squares cut from Needs of Life (Handout One), word side down. Going around the circle, allow one student at a time to quickly chose 3 or 4 squares without looking at them.

    When everyone has their squares, ask the students to look at theirs and determine as a class what they represent – the essentials for maintaining life. The teachers then states the essential needs one at a time. Any learner not having that need will sits down. Some students may have more than one square for a need. Ask the students if they think having two of an essential need is a benefit. The teacher will continue repeating the needs until all of the learners are sitting. The teacher will then discuss how important it is to have a balance in needs, stating that having too much food and no water will not help with survival.

  2. Begin with four or five volunteers who will share their private land use activities through their homework picture.

  3. In small groups, have the learners brainstorm a list of positive and negative effects humans have on these basic needs (i.e., negative: garbage, erosion, pollution, oil drilling, habitat destruction, highways; and positive: parks, man-made lakes, forests, clean-air legislation, protected areas). Post these on the chalkboard or overhead.

  4. Provide background information on the ways humans alter the environment (farming, manufacturing, hunting, habitat destruction, land development, reforestation, recreation, etc.). Decide whether these are positives or negatives and give examples.

  5. Put the term common good on the chalkboard or overhead. Define each word separately and then put the words together to get the definition of the term. Common good involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all. involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all. Do citizens have an obligation to give up their individual rights over how to use their land in order to help improve the common good? Are the choices of land uses which promote the common good a form of philanthropy (the giving of one’s time, talent or treasure for the sake of another, or for the common good; voluntary action for the public good; voluntary giving, voluntary service and voluntary association, primarily for the benefit of others)?

  6. Explain that the learners will participate in a Land-Use Scenario Game. Learners will form into small neighborhood or communities of four or five land owners with their private property land use designs. Each learner will take turns selecting from the stack of Scenario Cards (Handout Two) which will put the landowner into various situations. (The Stacks of Scenario Cards will be the same for each group.) As a group assessment, a selected learner recorder will record each Scenario Number and group land-use decisions. This will record the understanding of the learners regarding positive and negative land-use effects on private lands. Each group will then share their decisions regarding the scenarios with the rest of the class.


Decisions made in the Land-Use Scenario Game may serve as an assessment of learning.