What We Can Do!

K, 1, 2

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.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 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.
  • 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)

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



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

  2. 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.)

  3. 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)
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

Cross Curriculum 

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.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.