"Mother Earth" - Present

3, 4, 5

The purpose of this lesson is for students to continue to explore the Native-American traditional beliefs of Mother Earth through contemporary Native American writers and to express this concept through Haiku and visual art.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Sixty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • read and interpret contemporary Native-American literature.
  • write an original haiku poem.
  • illustrate the traditional belief of “Mother Earth.”
  • apply vocabulary of environmentalism (from Lesson One : “Mother Earth” - Past ) to present-day Native-American reflections.
  • Student copies of Attachment One: Reflections of Contemporary Native Americans and Attachment Two: Haiku
  • Pencils and black fine-tip markers
Home Connection 

None for this lesson.

  • Beaton, D. “Healing and Protecting Our Sacred Mother Earth” . First Nations Drum. Summer 2002. Volume I .
  • Children's Haiku Garden. http://homepage2.nifty.com/haiku-eg/ > 1 October, 2003
  • KidPub Children's Publishing < http://www.kidpub.com/ > 1 October, 2003 This is a possible site for posting original poetry. You can set up a school page which will allow you to post your students' writing directly. Worthy of investigation!


  1. Anticipatory Set:Write the word “steward” vertically on a large sheet of paper. Based on the learning from Lesson One: “Mother Earth” - Past , have the students define the word and relate it to philanthropy. Create a whole-class acrostic poem by selecting one word (or phrase) for each of the letters in the word steward.

  2. Tell the students that in the last lesson they looked at the words of Chief Seattle to discover the Native Americans' view of the earth. Today they will look at what some contemporary Native Americans believe about stewardship of the environment.

  3. Distribute Attachment One: Reflections of Contemporary Native Americans. Read and discuss the selections as a class or assign each selection to a small group to read and report back to the class. Prompt the students to use the vocabulary words from Lesson One (philanthropy, steward, stewardship, environment, environmentalist, common good) in their discussion.

  4. Distribute Attachment Two and use it to explain Haiku poetry. Each student writes a Haiku poem with a nature theme.

  5. After the Haiku is complete, each student should continue to work on the artwork begun in Lesson One . (Play Native American music in the background to set the focus on nature.) On the watercolor painting from Lesson One , the students are to draw pencil outlines from nature. These are not intended to be complete “pictures.” The drawing might include the outline of fish, leaves, trees, flowers, animals, etc. The colors and shapes in the watercolor “wash” should influence the illustrations. Trace the pencil lines with fine-tip markers.

  6. Display the artwork and Haiku poetry together.


Teacher observation of student vocabulary word use. A completed Haiku nature poem and illustration.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of philanthropic traditions of diverse cultures.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.
    3. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe an early example of philanthropy practiced in the indigenous culture.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.