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Canada's Forests and Wetlands: Our Natural Water Filters- Vol. 6 (Gr.9-12)

Secondary

Description

Canada’s Forest & Wetlands: Our Natural Water Filters, Volume 6 is a K to 12 teaching kit that explores the role our forests play in sustaining freshwater resources.  The final five of the eight lessons in the kit are appropriate for use in high school. 

The resource begins with a brief introduction to the ecological relationship between forests and freshwater.  In addition to providing teachers and students some key facts and figures, an extensive list of teaching resources is included.   In the lessons that follow students use this background information as context to explore the larger issue of sustainable forest development as they complete a range of activities including role play, simulation and research.  Each lesson consists of a set induction, student activities, reproducible worksheets and suggestions for extended learning.  The resource also contains a glossary. 

Lesson four simulates a town hall meeting to demonstrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions to forest development.  Students are assigned roles of the various stakeholders who will be affected by a planned highway project that will result in the loss of much of the town’s forested area.   Each student must prepare an appropriate point of view based on the perspective of the stakeholder he/she is representing and present it during the class’s town hall meeting.  Following the presentations, a decision on whether or not to proceed with the project is made by the class. 

In lesson five, students explore the impact of individual choices and actions on the environment. Using examples of existing codes that govern human interaction with the environment and their understanding of forest ecology, students come up with a set of rules and actions to protect our forest that they present to others as a Forest Code of Conduct. 

Lesson six addresses the importance of sustainable forest development.  Students read and analyze the acceptance speech of Wangari Maathai whose Greenbelt Movement resulted in the planting of over 30 million trees in Africa and earned her the 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace.   By looking for the reasons why planting trees could earn a Nobel Prize, students explore the connection between sustainable forestry, sustainable freshwater and quality of life.   

In lesson seven students participate in a simulation that examines strengths and weaknessnes surrounding different sources of water.   Pupils take on the role of field engineers to research and make recommendations on where to locate a newly-planned community based on the preferred source of its water. 

In the final lesson students are guided through an action project designed to inform others about the importance of forests in relation to freshwater conservation.  Each student researches a specific topic relating to forests and water, reviews the key elements of successful short story composition and presents their findings in story/picture book form.  The books are then read to groups of younger students.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

While these skills are not explicitly taught in this resource, it provides teachers with activities to involve students in:

  • creative writing
  • letter writing
  • story telling
  • public speaking
  • research
  • consensus building

Strengths

  • The resource deals with a very important topic
  • Students will enjoy the emphasis this resource places on role play and simulation activities.
  • The resource offers students a wide range of learning activities.
  • The lessons encourage students creativity and individual expression.
  • The resource provides an excellent quantity and quality of supplemental information representing a variety of perspectives for the benefit of both students and teacher.
  • The resource is thorough, complete and very teacher friendly. 
  • Each lessons offers a set induction to effectively connect the issue to the students own experience.
  • The resource demonstrates effectively the complexity that characterizes environmental issues.

Weaknesses

  • The resource does not explicitly teach action skills.
  • Action projects are not fully developed or supported.
  • The resource does not include outdoor activities.
  • The activities within the resource do not effectively address aboriginal perspectives where appropriate to do so.
  • The opportunities for cooperative learning are not developed.

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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        • Social Studies 10-4 (Living in a Globalizing World) Canadian Response to Globalization
      • Technological Education
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        • FOR1010: Forest and Society
    • Grade 11
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        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
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        • Sustainable Resources 11: Forestry
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        • Biology 11: Interactions among Living Things
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
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        • Geography 12: Resources and Environmental Sustainability

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Interdependence
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Forests
  • Water (1)

    • Water Quality

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
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

Town hall meetings address conservation from environmental, social and economic perspectives.

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
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Two of the core lessons and several of the extended learning activities provide students with opportunities for action.  Few details for implementation of the suggestions are included.

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 Good
  • Students establish their own 'code of contact' for human impact on our forest/wetlands
  • Students create their own storybooks to help young children appreciate the importance of our forests/wetlands
  • Students participate in a variety of role play and simulation activities
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

More attention could be paid to the opportunities the activities provide to acknowledge the contribution and role of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

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 Poor/Not considered

Poor

While several of the activities encourage reflection on the relationship between human and non-human life, this resource does not get students outdoors.

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 set inductions that introduce each lesson are especially effective in relating issues to student experience.

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
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 Very Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
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
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 resource provides students with a range of learning activities that address both domains.
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
  • Elements of experiential learning are found in the various role play and simulation activities provided.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
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 Satisfactory
  • Students are able to demonstrate their understanding of the issues in a number of different ways. (creative writing, posters, presentations)
  • Opportunities for peer and self evaluation are identified.
  • Assessment directions and instruments are not 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 Good
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 Satisfactory
  • Some attention is paid to this approach through the use of simulation and descriptions of real events.
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
  • Each lesson provides opportunities and suggested resources for further investigation.
  • Lesson structure offers students some choice of topics within a narrow list of options.
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.