Moving with the Marigolds

K, 1, 2

This lesson centers on the basic needs and purposes of plants, as well as people. The discussion will include the fact that plants have needs and a purpose, and people have needs and responsibilities.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne-Hour Class Period

The learners will:

  • identify the basic needs and purposes of flowers (and plants).
  • differentiate between wants and needs (of people).
  • participate in a trust-building exercise.
  • role-play the movements of flowers.
  • Various familiar songs which have “flowers” as their theme or part of the text
  • Flip chart, board or large paper for listing ideas from group discussion
  • Recording of “Waltz of the Flowers” by Tchaikovsky from The Nutcracker Suite
Home Connection 

Students will investigate what types of flowers they can find in their home environment. This may include their yard, neighborhood or a local park. Have them make sketches or a list of what they find. Ask the students to bring to school the next day a picture of a flower cut from a magazine or newspaper. This picture could also be one that the child creates with crayons or markers. These pictures will be used to fill a classroom bulletin board or a class book. (Teacher may add pictures to fill in as appropriate).

  • Carle, Eric. The Tiny Seed. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987. ISBN: 0887080154
  • Heller, Ruth. The Reason for a Flower. Paper Star, 1999. ISBN: 0698115597
  • Hickman, Pamela. A Seed Grows. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, 1997. ISBN: 1550742000
  • Swinger, Marlys. Sing Through the Day: Eighty Songs for Children. Plough Publishing House, 1999. ISBN: 0874869714
  • Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich. “The Waltz of the Flowers,” Nutcracker. Angel Classics, 1999. ASIN: B0000IZSXE (This is just one of many recordings available of this classic.)


  1. Anticipatory Set: Sing familiar or new songs about flowers, or play recordings of songs which mention flowers. Ask the children to pay attention to the words and figure out what the songs have in common (flower theme). See Bibliographical References.

  2. Ask students to recall from prior knowledge what plants and flowers need to grow and survive. Then read them a book about plants, flowers, and the life cycle. Several suggestions are provided in the Bibliographical References. After reading, discuss what plants/flowers need. Discuss flowers as a beautiful part of nature and ask students to answer the question, “What is the purpose of flowers?” (Accept all answers. You may introduce the scientific idea that their purpose, or responsibility, is to create seeds so more flowers can grow.)

  3. Have the students act out how a flower would act if it did not get what it needed. Give the students cues such as the following: “You didn’t get any water today.” “You didn’t get water for a month.” “There is not enough sunlight.” “The soil around your roots is crumbling away and roots are exposed.” “The air is cold.”

  4. Ask students if they have the same needs as a flower. Brainstorm the basic needs of people. As you make a list on a chart, help the students distinguish between wants and needs. The basic needs are shelter, food, and clothing.

  5. Expand the discussion: Is there a difference between community needs and individual needs? What are some things the class needs in order to get work done?  Lead the students to recognize the need for trust in the classroom in order to work together comfortably. 

    Use one or two trust-building exercises to illustrate the idea of trust. Ideas: 1. Two students firmly grasp each other’s wrists, then slowly lean away from each other. 2. Several students gather around one student who is lying down. The group picks up the student who remains in a prone position.


  6. Play “Waltz of the Flowers” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Each student will improvise the movement of flowers.

    Using the same music, students will work in pairs to improvise movement demonstrating mutual trust.

  7. Introduce the concept of building trust by doing things that are caring and help the whole group. Ask students to think of a reason why someone might give or volunteer. For example, why might you give flowers to someone? Why might you volunteer to plant flowers in someone’s yard?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define the word <em>trust</em> and its role in all communities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.