Search for Resources

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.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Art: Drawings
  • British Columbia
    • 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
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Ecosystems
        • Processes and Skills of Science
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Oral Language:
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth and Space Science: Water Systems on Earth
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Contextes
        • Visual Arts: Image -Development & Design Strategies
        • Visual Arts: Materials, Technologies & Processes
        • Visual Arts: Visual Elements and Principles of Art & Design
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings, and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings, and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Music
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Music: Creative Expresion in Music
        • Music: Music Language and Performance Skills
        • Music: Understansding Music in Context
        • Music: Valuing Musical Experience
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore Thoughts, Ideas, Feelings, and Experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Creating, Making, and Presenting
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Repesenting
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Responding to Art
        • Visual Arts: Visual Awareness
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Development of Imagery
        • Visual Arts: Responding to Art
        • Visual Arts: Visual Awareness
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
        • Writing & Other Ways of Representing
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
        • Writing & Other Ways of Representing
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
        • Writing & Other Ways of Representing
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
        • Writing & Representing
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Environmental Health
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • 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
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking & Listening
        • Writing & Other Ways of Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • 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
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Forms of Representation
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • 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: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Research, interpret and analyze
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • 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
        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Manage Ideas and Information
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Reflecting
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Creative/Productive
        • Arts: Critical/Responsive
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • 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
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Research, interpret and analyze
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education 8: Creative Productive
        • Arts Education: Cultural/Historical
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
        • Manage Ideas and Information
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • 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
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • 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 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
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • All assertions are widely accepted as general knowledge.
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 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:

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 Very Good
  • The approach is almost an action-research approach that immerses the student.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Values Education Good
  • Students write poetry and draw nature.
Values Education:

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

Acting on Learning 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..."
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
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:

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 Very Good
  • From a B.C./West Coast perspective, the legend and artist components help to ground this unit in our location.
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 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.

Integrated Learning Very Good
  • Lessons are multidisciplinary.
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 Satisfactory
  • More construction/co-construction is needed to ensure that knowledge building takes place.
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
  • There is opportunity for cognitive and affective learning.
  • Learning styles, and personal strengths come into play.
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 Very Good
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 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 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
  • 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.