Sunbeam Lesson #10 "I Am Thankful for Trees, Plants, and Flowers"

***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.

“When a homemaker plans a week of dinner menus, she is not likely to decide to prepare identical meals on seven consecutive nights…The gospel can likewise be presented in a number of different ways. No teacher should fall into a monotonous pattern of presenting the same kind of lesson week after week. When you use a variety of learning activities, learners tend to understand gospel principles better and retain more. A carefully selected method can make a principle clearer, more interesting, and more memorable,” Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 89.

Materials needed: fruits and vegetables, knife and cutting board, disposable cups, a tree twig in a sack, chalk or whiteboard and dry erase marker, enough copies of the nature walk graph and pencils for each child, and 6 small items (see end of lesson).

Have a basket of various fruits and vegetables (suggestions: orange, apple, banana, carrot, cucumber, celery, grapes, sugar snap peas). Hold up each food item and ask the students the name of each item. Then talk about how some of these food are fruits and some are vegetables. Both are healthy and good for our bodies. Eating other good foods like grains (rice, wheat and oats) are good, too. Heavenly Father made all these things for our use. He gave us a commandment called, “The Word of Wisdom” that tells us to eat these everyday to be healthy. He said, “All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground” (D&C 89:16). (If you’d like, you can show each food item and tell if it grows above the ground or below).

We are going two make to piles of food: one for the fruits and one for the vegetables. (Have children come up one by one and choose one to put in a pile. If they are wrong, just say, “Good guess. That is a fruit/vegetable”) After each one, ask them to rub their tummies and say, “Yum” if they have eaten this food. Tell them how much you love eating it.

All of these things grew from a plant or a tree. We eat things that grow from plants and trees. They started growing because someone planted a seed in the ground. Sometimes we can still find the seed inside the food. Hold up each item with seeds inside and ask them if they know what the seed looks like, if it will be big or small, many or few. Cut it or peal it open and show the children the seed(s) if they are present. Discuss what each fruit or vegetable looks like inside and if they like to eat it. Cut it up if needed and put a sample into a cup to give each child a taste of them.

While they eat, read a book that shows pictures of plants, trees, flowers and nature,  like “Wonders of Nature: A child’s first book about our wonderful world.”  Talk about how God made all these things.

Sing, “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, p. 228).

Whenever I hear the song of a bird (hand cupped to ear)

Or look at the blue, blue sky, (hand raised above eyes)

Whenever I feel the rain on my face (fingers tapping on face)

Or the wind as it rushes by (motion hands across in front of body)

Whenever I touch a velvet rose (finger touch)

Or walk by a lilac tree,(walk in place)

I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world (arms in a big circle)

Heavenly Father created for me. (hug self)

Repeat the song and then ask them to do all the actions while they sing it.

Pass around a sack with twig in it.  Let children feel and guess what it is.  Take it out and talk about where a stick comes from and why they are important.  We get food from plants. If it is Springtime in your area, you can get a twig with buds or blossoms on it and sing “Popcorn Popping.” (Children’s Songbook, p. 242)

Draw a picture of a tree and tell this story:

“This is a story about a tree.  First, it was a seed.  Then the sun and rain and soil helped it to grow.  When it became a big tree, it helped many people and animals. (Show picture 1-22, Tree in the Spring). In the Spring, a robin gathered twigs and grass a built a nest in the branches.  There she laid her eggs until they hatched.  When the baby birdies were born, they were protected and safe up in the tree in their nest. (Show picture 1-23, Nest with Baby Birds).  The mommy bird could fly away and get worms for them to eat.  When they grew up, the babies learned how to fly from the tree.  In the summer, the tree grew big leaves and the children on the ground got hot from the sun.  They saw that the tree had shade underneath from all the leaves.  So the boys and girls sat under the tree to cool down in the shade.  There were other animal that liked the tree, too.  Squirrels ran up and down the tree and other birds that were flying a long way liked to stop on the branches and rest. In the fall, when the leaves started turning red, yellow and orange and falling down, the tree grew apples. When they were ripe, the people picked the apples to eat them, just like the one we ate today in our class. Many years later, the tree was old and got sick and died. The people cut down the tree and used the wood to make a fire. It warmed them and they were happy as they remembered the tree.”

What were all the ways the tree helped?  Birds, Squirrels, Shade, Apples, Firewood.

We are going to go on a nature hunt to find all the beautiful things Heavenly Father made for us. (Review behavioral expectations if necessary). Give each child a print out of the graph below and a pencil to mark with. Go outside if weather permits and guide the children in looking for these things.  If you cannot go outside, show pictures in a book and have them check it off as they see them.

Trees          trees Yes No
Flowers     water_lily Yes No
Plants and Leaves     leaves_ Yes No
Grass     grass_2 Yes No
Birds and Insects      _robin_landing Yes No
Rocks       _pebble_beach Yes No

Back inside the class, review what you saw and testify of the things God made for us to enjoy. Give each child 6 small items (like Cheerios, pennies, or paper clips).  Play a game of “I Spy.” Give clues like, “I spy an animal that chirps and builds nests in trees. They eat worms and can fly.” The children put the small item on the picture you described on their nature walk graph. Keep playing until they are all covered.

Review for comprehension: Ask students to name some of the things Heavenly Father created for us to eat. Have them act out what a seed does when it is planted (roll their bodies in a ball on the ground). Then slowly start to grow bigger and bigger in the sun and air and pop up through the soil. Pretend to grow some fruit on your “branches” (outstretched arms). Have each child name what kind of fruit tree they are.

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