K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • identify natural resources and learn how they meet our needs.
  • explore how our actions affect natural resources.
  • explore conservation and replenishing our natural resources.
  • comprehend oral text.
  • communicate verbally and in written form.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

Four hours


  • Chart paper for recorded information to post around the room.
  • Pictures of natural resources as well as their uses and products. They can be from magazines, books, websites, your own photographs, etc. (For suggestions, see “pre-activities” below.)
  • Literature: Choose one of the following books or a similar resource:
  • Puppets from the chosen story and setting posters. Children can create these or they can be created by the teacher in order to save time. Settings would include the different places that were affected by pollution, etc. in the story. (Construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, scissors, yarn, craft sticks).
  • Magazines to be used for students to find examples of natural resources.
  • Notecards, pencils, writing paper.
  • Teacher assessment tools — including a story retelling record sheet and a story writing rubric
  • Optional: Tape recorder with headphones for LEP students to preview story.


  • Put together pairs of images from magazines or other sources showing a natural resource and the uses and/or products that come from it. For example, a picture of a cow and a picture of a glass of milk. Give each image a label. There should be enough to have several pairs for each pair of students. Suggestions include:
    • cow/milk
    • sheep/wool
    • tree/paper
    • tree/fruit
    • air/breath
    • chicken/egg
    • cow/hamburger
    • cotton/clothes
    • tree/lumber
    • pig/ham
    • water (rain or river)/water (for drinking or washing)
    • chicken (bird)/chicken (meat)
  • In advance of the lesson, have the students create the puppets for the story retelling activity in the guided practice. To save time, you may create the puppets yourself.
  • Students should have an understanding of cause-and-effect relationships prior to this lesson.
  • To activate prior knowledge have the children brainstorm a list of things that are found in nature as you write them on chart paper. This could include plants, animals, air, water, etc. This should be a familiar area for the students to begin with.



  1. Use the generated list of things found in nature in the pre-activities to introduce the concept of natural resources (our available supply of things we use from the earth).
  2. Hand out notecards, and have each student draw or write one thing they think is a natural resource on a notecard.
  3. Ask for volunteers to share their answers. Lead a discussion guiding the students into understanding why natural resources are important to our lives and how we use them.
  4. Use the chart paper to create a chart of identified natural resources. Examples might include sheep, cows, trees, cotton, water, air, pigs, chickens, etc.
  5. Have the students individually look through magazines to find examples of natural resources. Add any new ones to the chart.

Guided Practice

  1. Group students into pairs, taking into account their ability levels.
  2. Have each pair match labeled pictures of natural resources to uses and products of these resources. Monitor students’ progress as you walk around the room.
  3. Have each group share one or more of their answers and put a picture beside its matching natural resource on the chart created in the introduction.
  4. Read aloud one of the following choices or a similar book. (The book you choose should deal with the environment and how our actions affect it. It could address issues such as pollution, cutting down trees, building factories, etc.)
    • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
    • The Wump World by Bill Peet
  5. Lead a discussion about the natural resources found in the story, and have the students cite examples of how the resources were affected by the actions of the characters. Discuss ways to keep these negative effects from happening, and list them on a chart. (Examples: Don’t throw trash on the ground, don’t put waste in the water, don’t chop down too many trees.)
  6. Introduce the words conservation (protecting our natural resources) and replenish (to make full or complete again). As a group decide which word (conservation or replenish) applies to each idea recorded on the list created above. Add other ideas that are generated from the discussion of the two words.
  7. Have the students retell the story with their previous partner using puppets and a background of the settings. As you observe the pairs, you may use the story retelling record sheet (from the “materials” list above) to record notes about the retell.

Follow-up activites

  1. Read the story aloud again, having students recall the information discussed over the previous two days. Guide them to discuss the events relating to natural resources and how people affect them.
  2. Review the meaning of cause and effect. Cause: the reason that something happened; Effect: the thing that happened as a result. The cause is the reason why the effect happened.
  3. As a class, brainstorm a list of what happened (the effects) in the story guiding them toward a description of the way the world looked as the natural resources were affected.
  4. Have the students work individually to come up with causes for each effect (the reason why). Have the students turn this in as a way to assess the knowledge acquired.
  5. Have students individually write an alternate ending to the story incorporating the new information learned in this lesson. Have them concentrate on using the ideas of conservation and replenishment. You can create your own rubric or use the story writing rubric listed in the “materials” section above.


  • Assess natural resources matching activity by observation. Make note of students having difficulty.
  • Observe each pair retelling the story. Use the story retelling record sheet to check off each part of the retell.
  • Cause and effect answers. This could be used as a daily grade for language arts.
  • Use story writing rubric for alternate story ending.


  • Put critical vocabulary on a posted chart and add to it as the new words are introduced.
  • Have students listen to the chosen piece of literature on tape prior to the lesson in order to become familiar with it.
  • For the writing activity, have students use student dictionaries, word bank, and vocabulary chart.
  • Pair students for individual activities as needed.

Alternative assessments

  • Student retells eighty percent of the story.
  • When using writing rubric, adapt it so that a three is considered proficient.

Critical vocabulary

natural resources, conservation, replenish, cause, effect


This lesson plan was developed during the English Language Development Standard Course of Study lesson planning institutes hosted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and LEARN NC, June and July, 2004. It includes specific strategies, instructional modifications, and alternative assessments which make this lesson accessible to limited English proficient students. Please note that this lesson has been aligned with the goals and objectives of the N.C. English Language Development standards.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 2
          • 2.RL.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 2

        • 2.G.2 Understand the effects of humans interacting with their environment. 2.G.2.1 Give examples of ways in which people depend on the physical environment and natural resources to meet basic needs. 2.G.2.2 Explain how people positively and negatively affect...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.04: Pose possible how, why, and what if questions to understand and/or interpret text.
  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.03: Explain and describe new concepts and information in own words (e.g., plot, setting, major events, characters, author's message, connections, topic, key vocabulary, key concepts, text features).
    • Objective 3.04: Increase oral and written vocabulary by listening, discussing, and composing texts when responding to literature that is read and heard. (e.g., read aloud by teacher, literature circles, interest groups, book clubs).

English Language Development (2005)

Grade 2

  • Goal 0:
    • Objective 0.03: Retell text using expanded vocabulary, descriptive words, and paraphrasing with occasional difficulty.
    • Objective 0.04: Demonstrate comprehension of an oral presentation on a familiar topic using a variety of strategies with occasional assistance (e.g., sequencing, pictograph, story mapping).
    • Objective 0.04: Write one paragraph describing a familiar topic or experience with assistance.
    • Objective 0.11: Predict possible events using preparation strategies to activate prior knowledge and experiences before and during the reading of the text with little assistance.

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 2

  • Goal 6: The learner will analyze how people depend on the physical environment and use natural resources to meet basic needs.
    • Objective 6.01: Identify natural resources and cite ways people conserve and replenish natural resources.
    • Objective 6.02: Cite ways people modify the physical environment to meet their needs and explain the consequences.