The Gifts of Nature

Grades: 
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Author(s): 

Through analyzing a Ted Talk by Robin Wall Kimmerer, participants develop their understanding of what it means to respond with gratitude to the gifts from the Earth. Participants expand their awareness of the interdependent relationship between humans and nature. Kimmerer motivates and inspires us to be grateful recipients of Earth's gifts.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintTwo 45-Minute Sessions
Objectives 

The learners will...

  • Analyze the Ted Talk "Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest: Indigenous Knowledge for a Sustainable Future" by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
  • Explain the ways humans and trees are interdependent.
  • Cultivate a motivation to act in ways that honor our relationship with nature.
Materials 
Teacher Preparation 

The first session may be completed remotely. 

Bibliography 
  • TED Talk. "Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest." Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2012.
  • One Tree Planted. "Why Trees Are Important to Our Environment," 2020.

Instructions

Print
  1. Session One

    Anticipatory Set - Briefly discuss the ways humans impact the environment. Invite youth to “turn and talk” with a partner before engaging in a whole class discussion.

  2. Introduce the Ted Talk. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a scientist, an author, a Distinguished Teaching Professor, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In her Ted Talk, “Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest: Indigenous Knowledge for a Sustainable Future,” she invites us to ask ourselves “How do we respond to the gifts from the Earth?”

  3. Distribute the Ted Talk graphic organizer to use throughout the video as a means of identifying key points and challenging the learner to make personal connections. 

  4. Debrief as a whole group.  Pose the question, “What was your biggest take away?”

  5. Session Two

    Begin with Robin Wall Kimmerer’s quote, “All flourishing is mutual.” Pause and think about this statement. Do you agree or disagree with the premise? Invite individuals to share their opinions and provide reasons for their claim. 

  6. Thinking of Wall Kimmerer’s quote, consider the specific example of a tree. Create a T-chart with “What trees give to people” on one side and “What people give to trees” on the other. In pairs, brainstorm ideas for both elements of the T-chart.

  7. Invite participants to share their ideas and create a whole class T-chart.

  8. Share the brief video “Why trees are important to our environment” from One Tree Planted. After watching the video, invite the group to add to the T-chart. Discuss the role of gratitude and generosity in the cycle of nature, with trees as an example. 

  9. End by looking again at Robin Wall Kimmerer’s quote, “All flourishing is mutual.”  Reflect together or in writing on how this premise applies to the relationship between humans and trees. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Define and give an example of serial reciprocity.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Describe and compare stewardship in a variety of cultural traditions.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.