PrintTwo 55 Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define stewardship.
  • write a personal mission statement about environmental stewardship.
  • reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of “pavement.”
  • define and understand the term “impervious surfaces.”
  • Guthrie, Woody. This Land Is Your Land http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/This_Land.htm
  • Guthrie, Woody and Arlo Guthrie. This Land Is Your Land. Rounder Kids C8050. Rounder Records Corp., 1997. ISBN: 1-57940-005-1, Cassette. ASIN: B000003H1, CD.
  • Guthrie, Woody and Kathy Jakobsen. This Land Is Your Land. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. ISBN: 0-316-39215-4.
  • Mitchell, Joni. Big Yellow Taxi. http://jonimitchell.com/music/song.cfm?id=13
  • Self sticking notes
  • Guthrie, Woody. This Land Is Your Land http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/This_Land.htm
  • Guthrie, Woody and Kathy Jakobsen. This Land Is Your Land. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. ISBN: 0-316-39215-4.
  • Mitchell, Joni. Big Yellow Taxi. http://jonimitchell.com/music/song.cfm?id=13
  • Environmental Stewardship University of Michigan http://www.umich.edu/~urel/stewardship/ [no longer available] 
  • Guthrie, Woody and Arlo Guthrie.  This Land Is Your Land.  Rounder Kids C8050. Rounder Records Corp., 1997.  ISBN: 1-57940-005-1, Cassette.  ASIN: B000003H1, CD.
  • Guthrie, Woody and Kathy Jakobsen.  This Land Is Your Land.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.  ISBN: 0-316-39215-4.
  • Mitchell, Joni. Big Yellow Taxi. Henning Olsen, 2002. ASIN: B000CA3018, CD
  • For Additional Related Units/Lessons: www.learningtogive.org


  1. Anticipatory Set: Teacher’s Note: Prior to this lesson, obtain a recording of This Land Is Your Land, by Woody Guthrie and a recording of A Big Yellow Taxi, by Jonie Mitchell. Play “This Land Is Your Land.”Ask learners to think, write, and pair-share about:“Regarding this natural resource called land; whose land is it anyway?” and “Do I have any obligations to the land?”Play the song again.

  2. Conduct a whole class discussion from the think- write-pair-share activity.

  3. Discuss the term “environmental stewardship” and have the learners share what they know or think they know about the meaning of these words. Define the term as the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something.

  4. Have learners draw an outline of their body and label the hands, feet, legs, heart, mind, back, eyes, ears, etc. Identify work that an environmental steward could do using these parts of their body. For example, the hand could….the heart could…..the mind could…. etc.

  5. Have learners individually begin to write a personal mission statement about environmental stewardship in ten words or less, using correct spelling, acceptable grammar mechanics and legibility. Read them aloud and encourage peer review and editing.

  6. Post the mission statements around the room.

  7. Tell the learners that one definition of “paradise” is a place, situation, or condition in which somebody finds perfect. Share with the class, a place that you consider to be a piece of “paradise”. Perhaps it is a place you visited, a vacation destination, or even your back yard. Encourage the learners to join you in identifying these types of places. Then ask the question, "What would happen to your paradise if it were "paved, blacktopped or cemented?" Play "Big Yellow Taxi."

  8. Discuss as a whole class the implications of paving paradise and then play the song again.

  9. Place a t-chart on the display board labeled Pavement. Place the word “Pluses” over one column and the word “Minuses” over the other column.

  10. Direct the learners to individually list on separate self-sticking notes one advantage and one disadvantage of pavement, blacktop or cement and have them post these in the appropriate column on the display board.

  11. Read the responses to the class once all self-sticking notes have been placed.

  12. Share with the learners that whether Pavement is considered a plus or a minus, it renders the ground impervious. Challenge the learners to define the word impervious as it is used here. (Definition: something that is not able to be affected or distributed rendering the ground beneath it useless for anything other than, in this case, holding up the pavement.)

  13. Have learners write one question about impervious ground and its impact on the environment. They should sign their name and post the question on the board. Challenge the learners that by the end of this unit they will all have an answer to these questions or they will at least have a better idea of how the environment is impacted by human activity.


The learners will be assessed based on their participation in the class discussion and required activities as well as their personal mission statement reflecting what it means to be an environmental steward.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Give examples of stewardship decisions throughout history and in current events.