Guardians of Eden (Private-Religious)

3, 4, 5

This lesson will familiarize students with the Biblical passages that describe Adam’s responsibility to care for the Garden of Eden. Learners will develop an understanding of what this responsibility required of Adam and model this responsibility to nature by taking care of a garden of their own.

PrintThree to Four - Forty Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe at least one way that Adam could have fulfilled his responsibility of watching over the Garden of Eden.
  • adapt Adam’s responsibility toward the Garden of Eden to define the learner’s own responsibility to protect nature.
  • Self sticking notes
  • Poster board or chart paper labeled “What is a Guardian?”
  • Poster board or chart paper labeled “Parts of Garden”
  • Attachment One: Text from Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 8-15, 19-20
  • Attachment Two: Instruction Manual Pre-write Sheet
  • Lined paper
  • Seeds for plantings
  • Small plants or trees
  • Planters or paper cups for indoor garden
  • Soil
  • Watering pots
  • Additional poster board
  • Markers or paints
  • Clay and other art materials for constructing 3-D animals (optional)
  • Attachment Three: What Can I Do Now
Home Connection 

Students should complete the activity that they choose in Attachment Three: What Can I Do Now? at home. Tell the students to start a chain letter that explains man’s responsibility to take care of the earth.Each student should write a short letter explaining the story of Adam and describing the class garden.S/he should then send it to one friend outside the class and tell the friend to copy the letter and send it to another friend with the same instructions.



  1. Anticipatory Set:Give a self sticking note to each student and tell the class to write down the first word that comes to their minds when they hear the word “guardian.” Have each student place his/her self sticking note on a piece of poster board labeled “What is a Guardian?” and give a brief explanation for his/her response.Guide the students to the understanding that special and important things are guarded or watched over, and explain that they are going to write an instruction manual to teach others how to watch over one of the most important things we have: Nature.


  2. Distribute text from Attachment One: Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 8-15 and19-20 to students and read together.

  3. Ask students to describe different items that are present in the Garden of Eden and write these items on the poster board or chart paper labeled “Parts of a Garden.” After the students have mentioned all items listed in the text, ask them to think of other items that are NOT listed but must be present in order for the garden to thrive (insects, soil, air, sunlight, etc.).

  4. Ask students to identify Adam’s role in the Garden of Eden. Make sure they specify that he had a dual-faceted responsibility:

      1. to work the land.
      2. to watch (or guard) the land.Allow them to elaborate on what these responsibilities entail. Help them understand that Adam was also exhibiting acts of Philanthropy by watching over the land.He was being a good steward of the Earth’s resources.
  5. Explain to the students that they are going to write an instruction manual to explain to Adam how to fulfill his obligations in the garden.Arrange the class into groups of 2-3 students and assign one part of the garden to each group. (For example, one group willtell Adam how to take care of the plants and another group willtell Adam how to take care of the animals.)

  6. Distribute the Attachment Two: Instruction Manual Pre-write Worksheet. Have students fill out the worksheet.The worksheet tells students to list different items that are important or destructive to the garden and then to think of actions that they must do to either keep these items in the garden or away from the garden. It offers a specific form for writing instructions and tells students to illustrate their page.

  7. Tell the students to copy their instructions onto a sheet of lined paper.Specify that it is very important to list directions in a logical sequence.Put all of the pages together into a book and make a cover page.

  8. Share the book with the class and allow each group to demonstrate their instructions.

  9. Tell students that we, as descendants from Adam (and Eve, who was given the same obligation), are also responsible to watch over our environment. Explain that they will plant their own “Garden of Eden” to test their instruction manual.

  10. Using Chart Paper, have students create a backdrop of a garden that includes different parts of a garden that they listed.For example, they can make a stream and animals as part of the background.

  11. Distribute seeds, soil, and planters (or cups) to each pair. Using the directions on the seeds that you have chosen, tell the students how to plant and water the seeds.

  12. Give each group a plant or sapling and explain that it is their responsibility to care for both the seeds and saplings.

  13. Put plants, saplings, and seeds in front of garden backdrop (but be careful not to block the sun).

  14. Have the students write a schedule for who will water the plants on different days and maintain the class garden for as long as possible.

  15. After students have cared for their plants for some time, remind them that Adam was taking care of a garden that belonged to G-d. So too, their garden does not belong to them. Suggest giving the plants, trees, and any vegetables that may have grown to those less fortunate, such as a local hospital or shelter.


Students should be assessed based on their participation in brainstorming activities, how closely their instructions followed their directions onAttachment Two:Instruction Manual Pre-write Worksheet, and the responsibility that they take toward planting and maintaining their plants. Attachment Three: What Can I Do Now? can be used to assess how much students have internalized.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will plant and maintain a small class garden to model their responsibility of caring for nature. After caring for their garden, they will donate their plants and vegetables to a local hospital or shelter.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. 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.