Helping Others with a Garden

3, 4, 5

Students will analyze how a garden helps others in ways that are not always thought of when thinking of a garden. They will see that a garden is to be shared.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Thirty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe at least three purposes of a garden.
  • explain the importance of gardens to the lives and health of people.
  • use the vocabulary of gardening.
  • The Book: Grandpa's Garden by Shea Dorian (see Bibliographic References).
Home Connection 

None for this lesson.


Darian, Shea. Grandpa's Garden. Nevada City, California: Dawn Publications, 1996. ISBN: 1883220416


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students what they know about gardening. As students respond, place any gardening terminology they use on the board.

  2. Go over each term that was listed on the board and define each. Students may use their prior knowledge or may refer to dictionaries. Add terminology as needed.

    • While it is true that some people grow gardens for food, there are other reasons why people grow gardens. Ask students to list as many purposes of a garden as they can.
    • Giving examples where possible, have students explain the importance of gardens to the lives and health of people.
    • Read Grandpa's Garden by Shea Dorian to the class (see Bibliographic References).
    • Discuss the book from a philanthropic view by asking the following questions:
      • How do Grandpa and the girl give of their time, talent, and treasure?
      • How was this giving philanthropic?
    • Review the story and discuss how the class could do something that is similar that would be philanthropic.

Journal entry: Have students write a paragraph describing how the class could do a similar activity. Remind students to explain how this activity would be an example of philanthropy. The teacher may observe class discussion as a form of assessment.

Cross Curriculum 

Read about the service-learning project called Cople Garden by Cople Elementary students who were taught using this Helping Others with a Garden lesson to guide student learning and action.

Mrs. Birdsall is a 4th grade teacher at Cople Elementary in Virginia. “Students today are the adults of tomorrow,” says Mrs. Birdsall. “Sounds cliché I know, but it is the truth. I tell my students often that they are the future and they need to know how to properly run the world.”

Philanthropy Framework

  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. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.