Making Something from Nothing

K, 1, 2

Through storytelling, children recognize that their actions and behaviors have an impact and become memories for future generations. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • identify practices that are important for future generations.
  • read-aloud copy of Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
  • Gilman, Phoebe. Something from Nothing. New York: Scholastic, 1993. ISBN: 0590472801


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Read the book Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman. Ask the children to listen for the generations of characters, just like in Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. Talk about what a generation is and give examples in their own families.

    Discuss the book:


    1. Compare the relationship between an older person and a child in both books.
    2. How is the blanket like a memory?
    3. What are some things we can make from nothing?
  2. Talk about why recycling now is important for future generations. Guide the children to recognize that they have a responsibility (for the common good) to use resources wisely and carefully. This is called stewardship.

    Brainstorm things we can do now to make sure life is good for our children and grandchildren. Guide the discussion to help the children recognize something that is important to them, such as recycling or taking good care of their books. 

  3. Optional: The children may make a gift for their senior friend using recycled materials or materials they have. 

Cross Curriculum 

Students demonstrate stewardship of the environment for the sake of future generations. They make a project out of recycled materials and display them for others to see.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  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.
      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.