The Lorax teaches to Protect the Environment
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The Lorax teaches to Protect the Environment

Categories Protect Nature , Tu BiShevat 
Book Title: The Lorax

Author: Dr. Seuss

Illustrator: Dr. Seuss

Book Summary:

"Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...It's not." Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth's natural beauty.

Topic(s) Addressed:

The holiday of Tu B’shevat (New Year for trees and plants)
Protecting and Caring for the Environment

Enduring Understandings:

  • People have a responsibility to practice different ways of protecting and caring for the environment 
  • Tu B’shevat is a time to raise awareness of and act upon our responsibility to protect the environment

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

“The Eternal One planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there Adam, whom G-d had formed.…  The Eternal One took Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden to till it and tend it.” -Genesis 2:8, 15

The Hebrew word for nature is teva.  It is considered a mitzvah to protect or guard nature--sh’mirat ha-teva.  Judaism tries to instill within humanity the idea that people are partners with G-d in doing the work of creation.  Humanity does not exist in a vacuum, but shares the Earth with other living things.  There is symbiosis in existence with every element dependent in one way or another upon every other element.  We are to be thankful for the bounty of the growing things of this world.  This lesson is taught in the story of creation found in the Book of Genesis, but also reinforced in the writings of the Rabbis.  Incumbent upon this, as well, is the notion of ba’al tashchit--we should not be destructive, but rather work to preserve the good and useful things of this world.  This, too, is our obligation.

Questions for Reflection

1. How is our environment a blessing that we should take care of?

2. What are some ways in which you can care for the environment?

3. How does this value connect to tikkun olam--to repair the world?

4. How can you incorporate this value within your classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore


Copy of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Construction paper
Crayons and markers
Copies of Graphic Organizer (one per group)
Suggested Books:

365 Ways to Live Green for Kids by Sheri Amsel
The Everything Kid Environment Book by Sheri Amsel
The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth by Earthworks Group
True Green for Kids by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin


Smart board


Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

This lesson can be taught in conjunction with students learning about Tu B’shevat in the classroom, the teacher will engage in a whole group discussion about how Tu B’shevat encourages us to care about and protect our environment.

Reading The Story

Teacher will read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and discuss the importance of trees to our environment.

After The Story

Students will work collaboratively in groups of four and use their iPads and/or the above books to research ways through which they can apply the teachings of the Jewish value to Protect Nature and/or Tu B’shevat to the protection of our environment. The results will be presented on the graphic organizer described below.

Students will have a choice of using either one book and one website or two websites, but at least two sources must be used. They will be asked to research at least one of the following websites, as well as others they may find on their own:

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Kids Pages The Official Website of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
How To Save Energy-

As a group, a Graphic Organizer (one per group) will be completed with four actions, such as recycling, listed on one side and two examples of how to carry out each action, such as separating newspapers, on the other side. They will also complete one effect for each action.

Students, as a group, will create a four-page book using construction paper, with each page containing an illustration (drawing or photograph) of one way to protect the environment on one side and a written explanation of the illustration (including at least two examples of conservation) on the other side. At least two sources must be used, one of which should be an Internet source. Students should be prepared to share their work with the class in an organized way using eye contact when presenting.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Each student will choose one of the following writing activities:  

  • Write a one to two paragraph letter to your school principal suggesting ways in which the students can conserve energy and recycle waste in school. 
  • Write a one to two paragraph letter to your parents explaining ways your family can make changes at home to protect the environment. 
  • Create a public service advertisement on a poster board explaining three different ways Tu B’shevat teaches us to protect the environment. Brainstorm several ways in which these can be shared with school and community. Implement one or more favorite ways. 

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Songs about protecting nature: 

Evidence of Learningmore

Access rubric to guide students in fulfilling the teacher’s expectations


literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
The Curious Garden Peter BrownPeter BrownThe Curious Garden tells the story of “one boy’s quest for a greener world.” In a drab city of concrete, a young boy unexpectedly finds plants struggling to survive. He patiently nurtures them and as the garden thrives, the boy’s world is transformed.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth Mary McKenna SiddalsAshley WolffThis recipe-style book guides readers through the compost ingredients, from A to Z, in our everyday lives.
Our Class Is Going Green Kindergarten Students of the Oak Park Elementary School Children write and illustrate their ideas for “going green.”
365 Ways to Live Green for Kids Sheri Amseln/aIn the "green conscious" world we live in today, parents realize the importance of teaching the lessons of green living early on. With this book, parents can encourage their children to be ecologically friendly with fun lessons such as:

• The three Rs: reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling
• Why we should keep the air, oceans, and forests pollution-free
• Why organic food is tastier, and better for you
• How to protect plants and animals
• Earth Day celebrations

Complete with tips for every day of the year and activities for home, school, and during playtime, this book reveals how easy it is to be an eco-friendly family and prepare for a better future together
The Everything Kid Environment Book Sheri Amseln/aEverything we do has an impact on the world around us--from the clothes we wear and food we eat to the gardens we grow and the trash we throw away. And to take the best care of the earth--and ourselves--it's important to make smart choices. With The Everything Kids' Environment Book, you'll find out what you can do every day to help protect our planet. You'll also learn why the rainforest is so important to us, how animals go extinct, and what environmentalists can tell us about taking good care of our world.

Learn how to "go green" and to:

Find new uses for recycled grocery bags.
Create your own greenhouse.
Make acid rain--safely!--to see how it affect plants.
Test organic food against foods grown with chemicals.
Make your own compost pile.
Re-create deforestation with the soil from timbered trees.
Test your sensitivity to noise.
Whether you are in the classroom, surfing the Internet, or just hanging out with your friends, you can make a difference. Start today--so our Earth can live another 4.5 billion years!
The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth Earthworks Groupn/aThe world's a better place with EarthWorks Group's John Javna in it. He, along with his daughter, Sophie, help kids go from aware to active with simple (but inspiring) projects, tips, and little-known facts that puts a kid's own carbon footprint into perspective.

In The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, Sophie and John have revised the original best-selling book for a concerned and vibrant Web 2.0 youth market. It's easy-to-do and kid-friendly projects show that kids can make a difference, and each chapter is packed with tons of links to groups and resources. What makes this book stand out, though, is that it doesn't just inform kids, it encourages them to make a difference by providing them, their friends and their families the tools to take action.

Together, John and Sophie enlighten, educate, and encourage our children with easy and smart ways to save the earth. Pretty darn cool, huh? We thought so. What you can do: Order now and help save the only earth we've got.

Mother Earth needs our help now.
True Green for Kids Kim Mckay, Jenny Bonnin n/aTrue Green Kids is the one book every home should have for the next generation. This vital children’s title is an innovative collection of fun and practical ways to help kids become agents for environmental change in their world.

With fresh, new strategies and a bright, friendly design, True Green Kids invites the whole family to embark on an eco-adventure through a series of fun ideas that can be applied everywhere from the living room to the local park. Underscoring its message of individual awareness and action with beautiful color illustrations and lively text, the book puts an energetic spin on conservation, making environmental stewardship exciting and empowering for young kids. With a foreword by Clean Up the World Ambassador and National Geographic Emerging Explorer David de Rothschild, this volume brings the core message that you can make a difference to a younger audience in an engaging, educational way. While primarily aimed at kids, the book also encourages the active involvement of parents, teachers, and other members of the community, making it a vital addition to every library, home, and classroom.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Marlene Bergman, Beth Emet Elementary School