Stewardship of creation
How do I show respect for creation?
By the end of this unit, students will have explored how God is revealed in the activity of the Holy Spirit- creation, Church and the human experience, in part through the accounts of creation in Genesis; students will also begin to understand that they have the capacity to make choices and that these choices have consequences. In turn, students will demonstrate ways of living in harmony with and caring for God’s creation, and consider a way to work together towards a solution to one environmental issue in the school or community.
Teachers, before you start:
- Watch the CST for your own background and familiarise yourself with the Lower Primary cartoon (found within the Learning Experience below).
- Download the various resources referenced (worksheets, slides, etc.) and have them ready to go on your computer/interactive whiteboard.
- Locate any Scriptures and copies of Church texts (all hyperlinked within the Learning Experience below).
- Familiarise and decide on the use of online or app technologies.
Learn - Focus
Students explore how God is revealed in the activity of the Holy Spirit- creation, Church and the human experience.
Tune students into the idea of the sacredness of creation:
Introduction: Think of a place which you find sacred, a place you would want others to respect. It could be your bedroom, the place where a loved one is buried or a place where an important event in your life took place.
Explain why it is sacred to you and how you act when you are there. How would you want other people to treat this place?
Display these questions and students complete a think-pair-share routine, in response.
You may like to use the online visual dictionary Visuwords to explore the definition of ‘sacred’.
Further explore the sacred connection we have to creation because God has revealed his presence in creation.
Read an Aboriginal dreaming book and discuss the Aboriginal spiritual connection to the land. Caritas Australia’s partner Djilpin Arts created a series of animations telling stories from the Dreaming in a number of language groups. Explore stories on the Dust Echoes website.
Explore how being in nature can be a spiritual experience. Students think of their favourite nature location or scene. Perhaps a sunset or walk in the bush. Students describe how they felt there- for example, peaceful, quiet, safe.
Read Scripture verses revealing God’s presence in nature.
Teacher Note: The imperative to care for creation is emphasised here through the scriptural verses explaining the presence and revelation of God through His creations. This assists in deepening students’ understanding and conviction to care for natural resources for the common good.
Students find or bring in a photo or create a video of their favourite nature scene. Students describe why this is so special and how they feel when they are there. Students create a digital poster using the Poster app Phoster, Canva or Glogster with their chosen image or video.
Students choose a Scripture verse to display above, and write a personal statement below, describing how they feel about that place.
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Learn - Explore
Students explore accounts of creation in Genesis and begin to understand that they have the capacity to make choices and these choices have consequences.
Read and display page 1, part 1 of the Stewardship of Creation comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss: Why is the earth sacred? What is included in the idea of ‘creation’ The illustration includes nature as well as people. How would God want us to treat his creation?
Read and display page 1, part 2 of the Stewardship of Creation comic. See teacher cartoon >
Broadly discuss some of the issues that could arise from there being less animals, plants or rain.
Read and display page 1, part 3 of the Stewardship of Creation comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss the issue of rubbish. Is it a big problem in the school? In the state? Country? How is rubbish dealt with in the school and the local council? Is rubbish collected every day? Week? Where does it go? Does all the rubbish go in the same place? Ask if any student has ever visited a tip.
Discuss why having less rubbish will help us look after our world.
Teacher’s Note: We are focusing on the issue of rubbish as one of the many aspects of Stewardship of creation. This is related to the Brazil case study example, and can be used to deepen discussions around school recycling sustainability and environmental units. Further, it can be used to challenge basic habits of over consumption and consumerism.
A look at how rubbish is dealt with locally could become a deeper integrated inquiry using resources from http://recyclingweek.planetark.org
Discuss existing habits in relation to rubbish, at home and school.
Create an anchor chart with the headings ‘Re-use’, ‘recycle’, ‘reduce’, ‘repair’ and list existing habits for each category. This list could be added to throughout the sequence.
Connect: How is this related to the idea of God in creation? Why is it important to deal with rubbish?
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Learn - Demonstrate
Students demonstrate ways of living in harmony with and caring for God’s creation.
Explain that you are going to look at how a community in Sao Paulo, Brazil worked out how to deal with this problem of rubbish.
Read and display page 2, part 4 of the Stewardship of Creation comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss: What can we learn from what was happening in Brazil? What was the main cause of the problem?
In his special letter Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home, Pope Francis talks about how one aspect of caring for creation is also caring for other people, by not being selfish and by not buying too much ‘stuff’ – or making sure that those who make the things we buy are paid and treated fairly.
Discuss the idea of how much ‘stuff’ we have, related to consumerism. You could use this statistic as a starting point: recent research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.
How important is it to have so much stuff all the time? How does it compare to those special places we talked about to begin with?
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Students consider a way to work together towards a solution to one environmental issue in the school or community.
Discuss: How did the young people in the slums work together to solve a problem? How did it benefit the community?
Design a school wide campaign
As a class decide/design a similar action that can be taken to address an environmental issue in the community. This could be one aspect of ‘Reuse’, ‘recycle’, ‘reduce’, ‘repair’. Alternatively you could look at one area of the school to ‘Green’ for example, the school playing grounds or the canteen.
Devise a school wide campaign.
The process could involve:
1. Students collect information and data about the chosen issue, researching ideas and example of actions taken by others outside the school.
2. Students then design awareness raising ideas such as using social or print media, creating an installation at the school, organising a flash mob during lunch time to increase interest or recording a video.
3. Students choose 1-3 actions that people can take
4. Students decide on ways they might track progress and impact of their collective action, for example through media, competitions or tallies.
For some ideas see this video ‘Change the world in 5 minutes- Everyday at School’.
Review: The earth and all that is in it is a sacred gift from God. Our choices have an impact. God asks us to make good choices about caring for creation. This is the principle of stewardship of creation.
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Write a class prayer thanking God for his presence in creation and asking for help to look after it in everyday choices.
Alternatively, the Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home prayer and reflection, or
Prayer for our Earth, could be used.
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