Stewardship and the Rain Forest (4th Grade)

3, 4, 5

This lesson will familiarize students with the concept of stewardship and the practice of stewardship by problem solving actions an individual or group can do to take care of our natural environment.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define stewardship and explain that good stewardship is necessary to maintain the environment.
  • define rain forest, use rain forest-related vocabulary, and name flora and fauna that live in the rain forest.
  • write a description of a beautiful place.
  • The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry (see Bibliographical References)
  • Amazon Rain Forest (CD) or any CD or source from the Internet that has rainforest sounds to play in the background (see Bibliographical References).
  • Cherry, Lynne.  The Great Kapok Tree.  Voyager Picture Book, 2000.  ISBN: 0152026142.
  • Amazon Rain Forest.  Madacy Records: 1997.  (Audio CD)
    ASIN:  B00000JNQK.
  • Learning to Give Briefing Paper, “Stewardship” found at


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Listen to the sounds of the rain forest. Ask students to be prepared to list the animal sounds heard when the selection is complete.

  2. Review the fundamental democratic principles and common good.

  3. Define stewardship as the wise management and use of personal resources (natural resources and financial resources) for the benefit of all. Discuss what it means to be a good steward of the earth. Why is it important? Include a discussion of irreplaceable resources.

  4. Read aloud The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. Review the vocabulary words (rain forest, oxygen, and layers of the rainforest, emergent layer, canopy, understory, forest floor and deforestation) as they appear in the story.

  5. Tell students that we are stewards or the caretakers of the earth. Ask students to write a detailed description of a natural place they think is beautiful. Then, have the students write some of the activities of stewardship that are necessary to keep that place beautiful, natural, and healthy. Students should include the term stewardship and its definition in their writing.


Students’ paragraphs should use and define the term stewardship and give examples of responsible stewardship that is necessary to maintain irreplaceable resources and natural beauty.

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. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.