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This classroom resource explores the dependence of living things on their surrounding environment and the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems. Students learn about the different life requirements of the Common Loon and are introduced to the importance of a “sustainable’ ecosystem, with particular emphasis on habitat preservation and diversity.
The lessons explore general bird biology, the factors that threaten aquatic systems, and ways to reduce human impacts on lakes and loons. Appendices include Bird Studies Canada surveys and information on the major causes of mortality of loons. These include the emergence of botulism that is carried by zebra mussels and Gobi fish invasives, mercury pollution and disturbances associated with watercraft.
A short description of each lesson follows:
Lesson One: Loon Biology (2 X 60min)
Students view a series of slides on the Common Loon that include information on taxonomy, body structures, habitat and special adaptations for swimming, diving and flight, diet, reproduction and avoiding predators. Students in groups are given additional interesting facts and asked to explain foot waggles, red eyes, preening habits, lifespans, egg production and diet. A class discussion follows.
Lesson Two: Conservation (2 X 60min)
Students watch a Power Point presentation on the top threats that the Common Loon faces in Atlantic Canada, including shoreline development, dam construction, recreational boating, fishing nets and traps, lead poisoning, acid rain and garbage pollution. Groups of students are given fact sheets, visuals and props about the above threats and asked to present these to the class as part of a jigsaw activity. A final group discussion addresses conservation measures that can offset the harmful impacts described, along with ways to conserve loon populations. Students are encouraged to take action.
Lesson Three: Legends (2X 60min)
Two First Nations legends are shared with the class about loons. Using these exemplars, students are then asked to write their own loon legends that will be shared with the class.
This resource could be used in early middle level science classes to meet outcomes addressing biodiversity, loss of habitat and the importance of protecting ecosytems. It could also be used in social studies and geography classes to emphasize the impact of human activity on environmental sustainabilty, and in language arts classes to give relevance to creative writing.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
This resource aims to increase knowledge about the plight of the Common Loon as a means to encourage students to identify and find solutions for environmental problems. Students gather facts and information to draw their own conclusions
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view
Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and take an informed position
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Satisfactory|
The resource emphasizes the link between human activity, habitat loss, long term ecosystem sustainabilty and the loss of diversity. Opportunities exist for teachers to incorporate other dimensions.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The approach promotes dialogue and discussion within groups of students that will raise the complexities of the issue.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
There is no authentic action plan.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Good|
Although there is no out-of-doors experience, planet stewardship is promoted.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
This resource has great local focus for students in communities who have a local loon population. It also encourages all students to be more aware of the importance of protecting aquatic and shoreline ecosystems in their own areas.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Present day situations are evaluated and students are asked to play a role in implementing solutions in the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are able to discover some answers on their own through a guided-inquiry approach.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although primarily a science resource, there are opportunities for addressing outcomes in language arts, geography, and social studies.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
There are no accommodations suggested for students with learning difficulties but approprate groupings should address these issues. The resource teaches to both cognitive and affective domains.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
There are no "hands-on' learning opportunities.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
This resources includes a well-developed jigsaw activity.
|Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
Some assessment tools are provided- questions on readings and a knowledge-based quiz on the biology of the Common Loon. There are no rubrics suggested for evaluating the 'legend" writing assignment in lesson three.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The appendices describe the results of scientific research and surveys involving the major causes of mortality of loons.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
The creative writing assignment in lesson three, allows students the opportunity to delve deeper into a chosen issue.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|