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Elementary, Middle

Description

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The lessons build sequentially and purposefully.
  • The resource utilizes interesting teaching methods.
  • The lesson connects habitat to food chains, and explains interdependence in an understandable manner.
  • All necessary handouts are included and ready for copying.
  • Supporting resources for student and teacher accompany the lesson.
  • The lessons are sequential and easy to use.

Weaknesses

  • A holistic view of the encroachment issue scenario is necessary. Students must understand that there are environmental standards to which builders must adhere, even if we may think those standards and laws should be more severe. We must always leave students feeling positive about the future.
  • The author uses food chains to illustrate energy transfer among species, which incorrectly show an end to the transfer process.
  • Students do not engage in a task that assesses their knowledge of the animals the others in their jig saw group shared with them, therefore diminishing the purpose of the sharing.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Completion of cause and effect organizers.
  • Creating food chains and webs.
  • Creating informational brochures.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • The Earth and Space
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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Sustainable Urbanization

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • WWF clearly states their beliefs and mandate on their website.
  • Lesson two does not justly represent the values of all involved in the scenario.
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 looks at the issue from an ethical point of view.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory
  • The cause and effect lesson needs a solution-storming session attached to it. The scenario, without resolution, may leave students feeling helpless.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Good
  • Authenticity, in the eyes of students, may depend on their location in Canada. It may be more meaningful to rural students who have access to freshwater habitat.
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

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory
  • The resource leads students to WWF values. While this may ultimately be desirable, it does not necessarily help students develop the critical thinking skills necessary for them to become informed, media literate systems-thinkers of the future.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
  • Different social groups are vaguely introduced to the lessons through the lesson two scenario. As a result, their values need to be fairly represented.
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
  • The resource is intended to get students thinking about the needs of other species.
  • A field-trip is suggested but all lessons take place inside.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
  • While beavers, moose and bears are well known to most Canadian students, many/most urban students will never have seen one in the wild.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good
  • The comprehension of past and present ecological issues may depend on the research students complete on their own. The idea of the lesson is to prepare students to be wilderness/habitat stewards.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good
  • The lessons utilize guided inquiry.
  • Students are required to research beyond the information provided to them. The provided action tips also encourage more student study.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • The lessons have an ecological focus. It would be worthwhile to look into the values at play in the development scenario in lesson two to examine the broader scope of the issue.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Poor/Not considered
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • The instructional strategies used in the lessons allow students with varying strengths to be successful. That said, there is a heavy emphasis on reading and writing that will need to be adapted for some students.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
  • A field-trip to a local freshwater ecosystem is suggested so that students can conduct scientific investigations in the field.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Good
  • A shared learning process works up to the final task.
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good
  • The lesson sequence builds nicely from opportunities to formally and informally assess formative learning and formal summative assessments based on criteria that students help develop.
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 Good
  • Students share their learning throughout.
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good
  • The beaver, moose and bear are the presented species and are all Canadian icons. While they may not necessarily be the most commonly found species in all locales any more, their increasing rarity is relevant to the issues studied in the resource.
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 Good
  • The first three lessons are broad enough to accommodate some choice and group work.
  • The final task could easily be tweaked to allow students to choose how they will present their learning.
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.