Lesson Seven: You – The Mystery Steward
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Time: 30 – 45 minutes
Essential Question: How can we be stewards of Wyoming’s public and private lands to benefit current and future generations?
Objective: Students will examine various scenarios and decide which one they identify with in order to write a paragraph to accompany their portrait in the stewardship Portrait Gallery.
Purpose: Students see themselves as a good steward of Wyoming’s public and private lands through the lens of being a responsible citizen.
- Blank portraits (one per student)
- Markers, crayons, colored pencils
- Scenario Cards sheet (one per student)
- Half sheet of lined paper (one per student)
Suggested Teacher Preparation:
- Decide what materials students will use to create their portraits. See step 2.
- Find space to post your students’ portraits and paragraphs in or near your Portrait Gallery.
- Decide whether students will read their paragraphs aloud at the end of the lesson. See step 5.
Social Studies: SS5.1.1 (Explicit)
ELA: 5.W.4 (Practiced/Encountered)
Vocabulary: No new terms are introduced in the lesson.
This culminating activity will serve as the summative assessment for the unit.
- Say: “I am so excited, because today we get to figure out who our mystery portrait belongs to. I am going to give you some hints about the person. This person is educated about Wyoming’s public and private lands. He or she knows that Wyoming’s lands have many different uses and have to be cared for in different ways. This person knows that it is his/her job as a citizen of Wyoming to be responsible and follow the rules and regulations on all types of land. He/she always cleans up campsites, fishing and hunting areas, and parks when finished using them. Our mystery person wants to help take care of our lands, so they are here for current and future generations to enjoy. Does anybody have a guess who our mystery person is?”
- Allow several students to give their guesses. Though there will probably be a variety of answers, hopefully, someone will share the idea that the students themselves are the mystery person. Once students figure this out, make a big deal out of it. Say: “That’s right! Each one of you is a good steward who deserves to have your picture in our Portrait Gallery. That is exactly what we are going to do right now. I am going to pass out a blank portrait to each of you, and you will have ten minutes to add your name and a representation of yourself.” Pass out blank portraits and any other materials like markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc. for students to use. It is up to you how involved you want to make this project. You could add paint, yarn for hair, etc. Allow students at least 10 minutes to create their portraits.
- When time is up, have students set their portraits aside. Say: “Now that you have your portraits, you need a story to go with it like each of the people in our gallery. I have five different scenario cards to share. I am going to read each card aloud. Listen carefully to see which scenario you identify with or feel strongly about.” Pass out scenario sheets and read through scenarios together. Say: “You are going to write a paragraph to go with your portrait so that it is similar to the other people/organizations in our Portrait Gallery. Each of our Portraits was a good steward of Wyoming’s public and private lands. Your paragraph needs to describe how you are a good steward dealing with the challenges in your scenario. You will have the next 20 minutes to write your paragraph. Use complete sentences and remember to start your paragraph with a topic sentence to guide your writing.” Pass out a half sheet of lined paper to each student for their writing.
EvaluationIn this task, students will be engaged in the higher order thinking skills of evaluation and synthesis by comparing ideas and using old concepts to create new ideas
- Make sure that all students choose a scenario and have them write their paragraphs. As students finish, have students bring their portraits and paragraphs to you to be placed in the Portrait Gallery.
- When all of the portraits are hung, take a minute to stand back and admire them along with Wyoming’s other stewards. To extend the activity, students can read their paragraphs to the class.
Assessment: The paragraphs students have written will serve as the assessment for the unit. Students’ paragraphs should include content from the unit. Their responses should include both the qualities of a good steward and how being a good steward benefits current and future generations. Possible student responses are listed below:
Scenario #1: My family and I will turn around and leave this place because we can see that it is private property. It is against regulations to entry private property without permission. Even though it is late, we will have to return home. If we want to hunt here tomorrow, we will have to try to get permission from the owner.
Scenario #2: I know that I am on public land that is intended for camping. The place where my grandfather wants to camp has no fire pit. We can still camp there, but we can’t build a fire because the grasses are dry, and it would be against regulations. We could cause a grass fire that would endanger everyone in the area. We should watch for another spot to open up and move to a spot with a fire pit if possible.
Scenario #3: I know that this is public land that everyone should get to enjoy. When my friends and I come here to hang out, we shouldn’t have to see damage that other people have done. I would clean up what I can, and I would report the problem to my parents, so they can notify the right agency. I would also like to see if signs could be posted saying there is a fine for defacing public land.
Scenario #4: I have had the experience of going to the park with my family for a picnic in the past. When we got there, the site was full of someone else’s trash. We had to clean it all up before we could set up our picnic. Wasps were flying all around the picnic table. It was not enjoyable to clean up after others, but it was the right thing to do. As a good steward, I will make sure the place is enjoyable for others like we learned in our unit.
Scenario #5: My brother and I already have permission from the rancher to cross his property to get to the hiking trail that is on public land. I know that he is not home right now, but we already have an agreement. I decide that we can go through his property as long as we shut the gate, so the cattle will not get out. My friend and I will be very respectful while we cross his property making sure to stick to the marked area.
Credits/Sources: Not applicable