George Washington Carver and Sharing
A read-aloud book teaches about George Washington Carver and his contributions to science. Students gain an understanding of a famous person of the past and the importance of his actions for the common good.
The learner will:
- list major contributions made by George Washington Carver.
- describe how his actions made a contribution to the common good.
- read-aloud copy of A Weed Is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver (see Bibliography)
- Musical bonus: Sing a song by Raffi: Singable Songs for the Very Young - "Great with a Peanut Butter Sandwich"
Bonus art and math homework: Give each student a standard-size rectangle of paper (about the size of a label from a jar of peanut butter). Ask each student to draw/copy the label from a peanut-butter jar at home. Use the labels the next day to make a picture graph showing the different kinds of peanut butter people buy. Discuss the data gathered on the graph, comparing and contrasting numbers. (You may need a column on the graph for people who do not buy peanut butter.)
- Aliki. A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985. ISBN: 0671664905. Also available on YouTube.
- Raffi. Singable Songs for the Very Young: Great with a Peanut Butter Sandwich. Troubador Records Ltd., 1976. ISBN: 1-886767-30-0.
Ask the children if they know how peanuts are grown and what they are good for other than eating. After they respond, tell them you are going to read a story about a very important man whose work was very important to us all and involved peanuts. Read A Weed Is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki.
Synopsis: The book begins with George Washington Carver's childhood and describes his love of science, especially plants. The book explains how he learned about plants by taking care of others' gardens. Through the use of his scientific mind, he developed many methods for farming and machinery that helped people then and now. The last line of the book says volumes: "George Washington Carver, with his goodness and devotion, helped not only his own people, but all peoples of the world."
- After reading the story, discuss Mr. Carver's work with peanuts. Focus on his generous sharing of ideas, which led to many contributions to society.
- Ask students to identify and list some of the major contributions made by George Washington Carver. (Some are in the story, and you will want to add others from the Internet.)
- Ask students why we are all better off because of the inventions and generosity of Carver. Talk about the meaning of common good.
- Based on the reading and personal experience, ask students to explain why acting generously is good for the community, state, or nation.
Talk about what we can do for the common good related to plants. Brainstorm ideas like planting food to share, community gardening, bringing flowers to people who are lonely, and planting in a common space.
Invite in an expert from the community to talk about gardening, flowers, or local farms. Ask about the needs in the community.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.