PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • listen to a flower-planting demonstration.
  • observe and investigate flowers with the senses of sight and smell.
  • list philanthropists related to this project.
  • invite family members to participate in the community project.
  • use a digital camera.
  • design a plan for the art work on a flower pot.
  • A read-aloud book about giving, such as Miss Rumphius by Cooney or The Legend of the Blue Bonnet by dePaola
  • Fresh cut flowers and potted flowers at various stages of growth for demonstration and observation
  • Butcher paper for a timeline
  • Flower pots, bedding trays, heat lights, drip lines, fertilizer and potting soil (try to find someone to donate some of these materials—either a store or an individual in the community)
  • camera
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Students take home a book that has a theme of giving (or find one with their families to share with the class).They read the book with their families and talk about ways they can give. They should make a plan within their families to carry out an idea on their own initiative. Students can bring a list of brainstormed ideas back to school when they return the books.

  • Carle, Eric. The Tiny Seed. Aladdin Library, 2001. ISBN: 0689842449
  • Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. Scott Foresman, 1985. ISBN: 0140505393
  • Demi. The Empty Pot. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0805049002
  • Gibbons, Gail. From Seed to Plant. Holiday House, 1993. ISBN: 0823410250
  • Heller, Ruth. The Reason for a Flower. Paper Star, 1999. ISBN: 0698115597
  • Hickman, Pamela. A Seed Grows: A first Look at a Plant’s Life Cycle. Kids Can Press, 1997. ISBN: 1550742000
  • dePaola. The Legend of the Blue Bonnet. Scholastic, 2004. ISBN: 978-0590426039 


  1. Anticipatory Set: The teacher will display around the room pictures of people with flowers to interest the learners in a new unit involving growing our own gifts for others. Introduce a volunteer master gardener to the class.

    Day One:

  2. Allow the learners to handle the flowers the master gardener brought for demonstration. The master gardener can share motivating information about where the plants were grown, what they are called, what the parts are called, whether they like sun or shade, impact on the environment, and so on.

  3. Have the master gardener share personal reasons for being involved in gardening. Talk about how gardening affects one’s well-being. Discuss what senses are involved in the care and handling of flowers. Discuss how seeing flowers in the community or receiving flowers as a gift makes people feel. Ask students to predict how it will feel to give flowers as a gift.

  4. The master gardener should explain how to properly plant the seeds and take care of the plants in the current season. Talk about the natural resources involved. The gardener can help the students and teacher break the procedure for planting, caring and presenting the flowers into steps over time. (It would be helpful to have examples—real or pictures—of plants at various stages of growth with information about how long it takes to reach each stage.)

  5. The teacher should write the steps on a timeline (from planting to delivering flowerpots) and assign the tasks to students and groups.

  6. Teach the students how to use the digital camera. Allow some students to document the master gardener visit with pictures. They should include pictures of the gardener, a variety of flowers, and any visual instructions and illustrations of growth stages. Note: Keep track of the students who take pictures so that each student gets a chance in the unit.

  7. Read aloud some of the books about seeds and plants in the bibliography today and other days throughout the unit. Day Two:

  8. Define Philanthropy as the sharing of time, talent or treasure for the common good.

  9. Read aloud the selected book (see Materials). Discuss the students’ reactions to the book. How are the examples in the book examples of philanthropy?

  10. Tell the students that you want them to think of ways that they can give. Tell them that you want them to think about it for a few days and then make a plan for giving. Check back with the students each day over the next several days to hear what they are thinking. Keep a list of their ideas. If students take the initiative to give in some way, have them report about it to the rest of the class.

  11. Explain to the class that they are going to be philanthropists with their flower projects. They will give the plant that they took time to grow and care for to a person that they meet at a retirement facility. They will also plant flowers in a common area in the community.

  12. Introduce the concept of “community capital.” When someone gives and contributes in ways that help or make people feel good, he or she builds up “community capital.” People feel good about the giver and may help the giver in the future.

  13. List the volunteers and philanthropists who are directly involved in this project: the volunteer master gardener, the store or individuals who donated the pots for painting, the parent helpers, and so on. Add the class to the list of philanthropists.

  14. Show the students the terra-cotta plant pot. This pot will hold the gift flowers. Give them paper to plan the art designs for painting the pots. Encourage the students to use a plant theme (to be finished in Lesson Three: Rubbing Elbows with Plants.)


The teacher will assess the students’ performance by observing their participation in discussions. Teacher Notes: Keep in mind through the duration of the unit to photograph events and write student and family comments. Have students, families and the recipients of the gifts comment on the effect of beautification. Use the photos and comments in an article to share in the school or community newspaper. Keep notes of teacher evaluation for changes in the next year’s unit to improve the lesson and embed time, talent and treasure in the community by more youth. Ask parents/guardians to sign permission forms to allow students to be off the school site to plant flowers in the community. They will also need permission and added family support in delivering the completed flower pots to the retirement facility.

Cross Curriculum 

The experiential component of this lesson is very personalized. When the students read the motivating story of What If Everybody Gave?, they will be motivated to give in some manner. The students report back in what manner they gave.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. 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.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
    2. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify why private resources (volunteers and money) are needed.