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The Boreal Forest: A Global Legacy - Vol. 7 (K-5)

Secondary, Elementary

Description

The Boreal Forest – A Global Legacy explores the natural wealth of the Boreal forest, its biodiversity, economic value and social and cultural importance. The resource helps students of all ages learn about the Boreal forest by incorporating boreal information into a wide range of subject areas.  Each lesson provides learning outcomes, an attention grabbing lesson opener as well as extension activities. The resource contains a series of eight lessons, for this review we take a look at lessons three, four, six and eight.

 

Lesson 3 – Boreal Superheroes

  • Students investigate two super adapted Boreal species, discovering the forest’s climate and geography at the same time. They discover how one plant and one animal thrive in the world’s most northern forest using their behavioural and physical adaptations. As an extension activity, students conduct research and make presentations about other species that have adapted to living in the Boreal forest.

 

Lesson 4 – B is for Boreal

  • Students become familiar with some common Boreal species by matching up names with images, and then answering questions. As an extension activity, students make a list of Boreal species and group them under many different categories, such as predator/prey, mammal, bird, insect, reptile, amphibian, plant and tree, or types of habitat preferred.

 

Lesson 6 – Boreal 101

  • In groups or pairs students learn about all the ways the Boreal forest is valued, from spirituality to economics to recreation. They cut out and match up descriptions under correct headings. Students discover biological, geographical, cultural, economic and global aspects of Canada’s Boreal forest.

 

Lesson 8 – Boreal Footprints

  • Students bring to life the interactions of various predators and prey of the Boreal forest. This lesson allows students the opportunity to make and interpret the footprints of common Boreal species. Students create paint stamps for the footprints of various Boreal animals. Using the stamps they create a painted Boreal scene, illustrating how their two Boreal animals interact. They write about the action that takes place in their painting.  

 

 

General Assessment

Strengths

  • Excellent background information, maps, informative facts provided to help deliver the lessons.
  • The resource is very well organized, easy to use and supplies all necessary materials.
  • Lesson ideas are ready for implementation and generally require a minimum of additional materials.
  • Blackline masters are provided.
  • The resource provides a list of web sites, publications and videos to incorporate into the lessons.

Weaknesses

  • The lessons reviewed lack a significant action component.
  • Students have no opportunity to share their learning with their peers or community.
  • Teachers need to create their own rubrics or assessment tools.
  • No outdoor learning experiences or on site activities are included.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Visual communication

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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        • Small Crawling and Flying Animals
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        • Plant Growth and Changes
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        • Life Science: Animal Growth & Changes
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        • Life Science: Plant Growth & Change
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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Interdependence
    • Wildlife Protection
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Forests

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • The resource presents many different points of view to fairly address the issue. The materials in the resource are drawn from many sources involved in forest-based education. The Canadian Forestry Association website provides more information on the organizations’ values, biases and assumptions.
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 Very Good
  • The resource explores the natural wealth of the boreal: its biodiversity, economic value and social and environmental importance.

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 Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
  • No authentic action experiences are suggested in the main part of the lessons. The extension activities could be developed into action projects but these would need to be organized by the teacher. 
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
  • Lesson six provides students with the opportunity to express their own beliefs about the boreal forest.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
  • Not considered in the lessons which were reviewed.
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 Satisfactory
  • The lessons do encourage a personal affinity with non-humans and the Boreal forest. Some outdoor experiences should be included in the lesson plans to help enhance the connection.
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
  • The activities in the resource help the students better understand the value of forest resources and the importance of using them wisely. They learn what they can do to help protect and conserve the forests.
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 Satisfactory
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
  • Students are encouraged to discover their own answers. The lessons include a variety of teacher-directed and independent learning opportunities. Discussion, brainstorming, and research activities are included in the resource.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Art
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
  • The extension activities provide opportunities for students to discover and build knowledge for themselves.
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 Satisfactory
  • The extension activities offer opportunities to address different learning styles. The main lessons are teacher directed.
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 Satisfactory
  • The direct experiences are through simulations.
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 Satisfactory
  • Students work in groups.
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 Poor/Not considered
  • No assessment tools are provided to evaluate student learning and performance.
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
    As students discover some information about the Boreal forest they present their findings to their peers.
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 resource provides many interesting facts, background information, Boreal maps and statistics to help deliver the lessons.
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
  • Some of the extension activities provide students with  opportunities to further explore the issues.
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.