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Biodiversity: The Spice of Life (Module 1)

Backyard Diversity and Beyond

Elementary, Middle

Description

The unit, Biodiversity:The Spice of Life, provides activities to launch a unit, school theme, and/or to help integrate biodiversity concepts across curriculum. Activity ideas include a focus on:

  • Student Experience
  • Interviewing
  • Artistic Representations
  • First Nations Legends
  • Poetry Reading and Writing
  • Famous BC Artists

The unit also includes background information suitable for both teachers and students. Although a West Coast flavour permeates the resource, all of the ideas could be adapted to fit other Canadian environments if the teacher has time to do some researching.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The module provides ideas intended to help students deepen their love of nature.
  • The module is easy to use.
  • The activities are springboards for further learning.

Weaknesses

  • Assessment ideas/rubrics are absent from the module.
  • The module introduces the idea of biodiversity as variety of life and it's interrelationship with place, but it neglects to mention the interdependence of all living things.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • We need to teach students to love nature so that they will want to preserve it.
  • Product is not as important as process.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 5
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        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
    • Grade 6
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      • Arts
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        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
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        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
    • Grade 7
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      • Arts
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        • Arts: Visual Art
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        • Comprehend and Respond
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      • Science
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
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      • English/Language Arts
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        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings and Experiences
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      • Visual Art
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        • Visual Art: Drawings
  • British Columbia
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        • Arts Education: Visual Arts
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        • Oral Language (Speaking and Listening)
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
      • Science
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        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
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      • Arts
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        • Arts Education: Visual Arts
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        • Oral Language (Speaking and Listening
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        • Ecosystems
        • Processes and Skills of Science
    • Grade 8
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        • Visual Arts: Contextes
        • Visual Arts: Image -Development & Design Strategies
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  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 6
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        • Arts: Visual Art
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        • Comprehend and Respond
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        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Science
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        • Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
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        • Arts: Visual Art
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      • Music
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        • Arts: Visual Art
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        • Comprehend and Respond
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        • Manage Ideas and Information
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 6
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        • Speaking and Listening
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        • Diversity of Life
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        • Visual Arts: Creating, Making, and Presenting
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        • Visual Arts: Responding to Art
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        • Reading and Viewing
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        • Visual Arts: Development of Imagery
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  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 3
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        • Reading & Viewing
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        • Writing & Other Ways of Representing
    • Grade 5
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        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
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    • Grade 6
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        • Reading & Viewing
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      • Health Education
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        • Health: Environmental Health
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        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
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      • Arts
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        • Creating, Making and Presenting
        • Visual Art
        • Visual Art: Perceiving,Reflecting and Responding
        • Visual Art: Understanding and Connecting Contexts of Time, Place, and Community
      • English/Language Arts
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        • Speaking & Listening
        • Writing & Other Ways of Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
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      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Creating, Making and Presenting
        • Visual Art
        • Visual Art: Perceiving,Reflecting and Responding
        • Visual Art: Understanding and Connecting Contexts of Time, Place, and Community
      • English/Language Arts
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        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Forms of Representation
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 6
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        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Science
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        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
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        • Arts: Visual Arts
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        • Access and Explore
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
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      • Arts
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        • Arts Education 8: Music
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        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Manage Ideas and Information
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 6
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        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Visual Art
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        • Visual Arts: Reflecting
    • Grade 7
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      • English/Language Arts
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        • Speaking and Listening
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      • Science
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        • Science 7: Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
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        • Speaking and Listening
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  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 6
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        • Arts: Creative/Productive
        • Arts: Critical/Responsive
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        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education 7: Creative/Productive
      • English/Language Arts
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        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Research, interpret and analyze
      • Science
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
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      • Arts
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        • Arts Education 8: Creative Productive
        • Arts Education: Cultural/Historical
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        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Manage Ideas and Information
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 6
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        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Health Education
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        • Life Learning Choices
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Creating and Presenting
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 3
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
        • To write self - expressive narrative and information -
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
        • To write self - expressive narrative and information -
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce individual works in the visual arts
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To appreciate works of art, media images, personal productions and those of classmates
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
        • To write self - expressive narrative and information -
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce individual works in the visual arts
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To appreciate works of art, media images, personal productions and those of classmates
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
        • To write self - expressive narrative and information -
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: Appreciates works of art and cultural objects from the world's artistic heritage,
        • Arts: Visual Arts: Creates personal images
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts
        • Represents her/his literacy in different media
        • Uses language/talk to communicate and to learn
        • Writes a variety of genres for personal and social purposes
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Living World
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: Appreciates works of art and cultural objects from the world's artistic heritage,
        • Arts: Visual Arts: Creates personal images
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts
        • Represents her/his literacy in different media
        • Uses language/talk to communicate and to learn
        • Writes a variety of genres for personal and social purposes
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Compose and Create
        • Comprehend and Respond
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Life Science: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education 7 : Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Compose and Create
        • Comprehend and Respond
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education 8: Music
        • Arts Education 8: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Compose & Create
        • Comprehend and Respond
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Oral Language (Speaking and Listening)
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Oral Language (Speaking and Listening
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Context ( Perceiving & Responding)
        • Visual Arts: Image-Deveelopment and Design Strategies (Perceiving/Responding)
        • Visual Arts: Materials, Technologies, & Processes (Perceiving/Responding)
        • Visual Arts: Visual Elements and Principles of Art & Design (Perceiving/Responding)

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Biodiversity

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Good
  • All assertions are widely accepted as general knowledge.
Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • A variety of different dimensions can be addressed through the suggested activities.
  • It will be up to the teacher and students to determine the depths to which the learning exploration will go.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Very Good
  • The approach is almost an action-research approach that immerses the student.
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Good
  • The action experience grows out of the lesson. They are often simple actions that are intended to change the students' attitudes and behaviours, as well as their connection to nature.
  • Though changing communities is not a part of this module, it could be a result of individual changes. Think Tolstoy: "...everyone thinks of changing the world but nobody thinks of changing himself..."
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Poor/Not considered
  • No skills are explicitly taught.
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
  • Not an aspect of the resource.
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
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Very Good
  • From a B.C./West Coast perspective, the legend and artist components help to ground this unit in our location.
Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Good
  • The focus of this module is on the past and present, however, the other modules in the resource would likely shift the focus on the future.
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 coupled inquiry - a combination of guided and open inquiry
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Very Good
  • Lessons are multidisciplinary.
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory
  • More construction/co-construction is needed to ensure that knowledge building takes place.
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Good
  • Students write poetry and draw nature.
Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Good
  • There is opportunity for cognitive and affective learning.
  • Learning styles, and personal strengths come into play.
Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Very Good
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered
  • Students could work in peer groups to complete some of the activities, however, the suggestions are worded as if the activities are for individuals.
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 Good
  • Reflective opportunities are integral to some of the ideas, but no formal self-assessment is provided.
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 Satisfactory
  • Students present their learning.
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
  • Case studies are local to B.C.
Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Good
  • Choice is a part of every action experience.
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.