Earth Day for a Small World (2nd Grade)

K, 1, 2

Students recognize that they belong to a global community that shares resources and interests. Learners define stewardship and exhibit responsibility by helping to care for our "small world."

PrintOne 45 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • explain what is meant by the phrase, "It's a small world."
  • define environmental stewardship as the careful and responsible management of the Earth and its environment.
  • discuss specific ways to be good stewards of the Earth.
  • create a watercolor picture of one example of taking care of the Earth.
  • brainstorm ideas for an Earth Day service project.
  • Printout for each student of the lyrics to the song “It’s A Small World” (See Bibliographic References)
  • Music and video of the song
  • Globe
  • The Earth and I by Frank Asch (See Bibliographic References)
  • Watercolor paints and brushes
  • White paper appropriate for painting

 Draw an outline of a person. By the head, write or draw what you think of your environmental action. By the heart, draw how you feel. By the hands, write what you did. By the feet, write your next steps.


Lyrics to the song “It’s A Small World" can be found here:

Asch, Frank. The Earth And I. New York, NY: Scholastic, 1994: ISBN: 0-590-89752-7

Youtube video and music of "It's a Small World."


  1. Anticipatory Set: Display a globe and play the song "It's a Small World." Ask the students to listen carefully to the words and follow along with the text. Play the song again and encourage them to sing along. Repeat the song until the students are comfortable singing the chorus of the song.

  2. Discuss the lyrics of the song. Ask what it means that we live in a small world. What does the song mean that "there's so much that we share"? What do we share? Why is it a world of laughter, tears, hopes, and fears? Allow learners time to reflect on and respond to these questions. Lead them to the conclusion that all over the globe we are all alike in many ways and we share the same natural resources.

  3. Refer to the globe to point out amazing features of the Earth, such as mountains, oceans, and other landforms. Name some of the continents and countries and describe the different climates and beautiful regional characteristics. Tell the students that although we live in different places, do different things, and dress differently, we all have the Earth in common. Tell the students that it is for our common good that we all take care of the Earth we share. Since we all share the Earth, it is everyone's responsibility to take care of it. The responsible maintenance and care of the earth and its environment is called environmental stewardship.

  4. Tell the students that you will read a book about environmental stewardship. Ask them to listen for ideas they can do themselves. Read aloud the story The Earth and I by Frank Asch. The child in the story takes the reader on an exploration of what the Earth has to offer and how we can help preserve its resources. After reading the story, brainstorm with the class a list of ways the child in the story was able to help care for the Earth. Tell them that these are examples of stewardship of the Earth (planting, raking, picking up trash, etc.).

  5. Define the word philanthropy as giving time, talent, and treasure for the common good. Tell the students that an act of stewardship is an example of philanthropy. When they give their time to pick up trash or plant trees, they are doing it for the common good of everyone in the world.

  6. Frank Asch used watercolor to create the illustrations. Look back through the story and talk about the illustrations and techniques with the class. Provide the students with watercolor paints. Ask them to illustrate themselves taking care of the Earth. Have the students write a sentence to describe the actions in their pictures.

  7. Allow time for learners to share their finished work with the class. List some of their ideas of stewardship on a display board. The finished products may be displayed individually or bound together in a class book.

  8. Brainstorm ideas for a class project for Earth Day. Ask the students to think of activities that exhibit care for the Earth we share and demonstrate to others that stewardship of the Earth benefits everyone and is everyone's responsibility.


Assessment is based on observation of student participation in class discussion and whether the watercolor illustration shows an act that benefits the Earth and its environment.

Cross Curriculum 

Students plan activities that exhibit care for the Earth we share and demonstrate to others that stewardship of the Earth benefits everyone and is everyone's responsibility.

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. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
  4. 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.