George Washington Carver and Sharing

K, 1, 2
Students will experience a piece of literature that introduces a famous African-American and his contributions to science. Students will gain an understanding of famous people of the past and the importance of their actions on citizenship.
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period
The learner will:
  • increase listening comprehension and use critical thinking skills.
  • sequence events of the story.
  • list major contributions made by George Washington Carver.
  • explain how peanut butter is made.
  • identify a famous person of the past and describe how his action made a contribution to citizenship.
  • A Weed Is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver (see Bibliographical References)
  • Chart paper
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Crackers
  • For Arts Extension: Audio CD - Rafffi: Singable Songs for the Very Young (see Bibliographical References)
Home Connection 
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 his/her peanut-butter jar at home. Use the labels the next day on a graph showing the different kinds of peanut butter people buy. Discuss the data gathered on the graph. (You may need to reserve 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.

  • Raffi. Singable Songs for the Very Young: Great with a Peanut Butter Sandwich. Troubador Records Ltd., 1976. ISBN: 1-886767-30-0.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Gather the children and distribute peanuts to them. (Warning: Be sure no students in the class are allergic to peanuts!) Have the children eat the peanuts. 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. Read A Weed is a Flower by Aliki.

  2. Synopsis: The book is about the life of George Washington Carver. It begins with his childhood and describes his love of science, especially plants. The book explains how he learned about plants by taking care of other peoples' 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."
  3. 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.) Ask students why we are all better off because of the inventions of Carver. What kind of person was he? How does his work make him a better citizen? How is his work considered philanthropy?
  4. With the help of the students, write the events of the book in order on chart paper.
  5. Discuss what life was like in American history when and where George Washington Carver lived and worked. Look up information at the library and on the Internet.
  6. Based on the reading and personal experience, ask students to explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, or nation.
  7. Trace the making of peanut butter from planting the seed to the grinding of the peanuts. Have students act out the different steps.
  8. Have a peanut-butter-and-cracker snack after the lesson.
Observe student comprehension as they: sequence the events of the story. recall major contributions made by George Washington Carver.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.