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This comprehensive unit explores the nature of carbon and its effects on the environment. Following an inquiry approach, the 8 lesson package focuses student attention on 5 essential questions.
• What is carbon?
• What is the carbon cycle?
• What is climate change and what role does carbon play in it?
• What is my carbon footprint and how can I reduce it?
• What can be done to mitigate climate change on a regional scale?
Students are provided with tools and opportunity to examine climate change-based problems in a variety of environmental, social and economic contexts and to consider different solutions. Students investigate their own questions relating to carbon, energy and climate. In doing so they conduct hands-on investigations, participate in simulations, view and respond to video presentations, carry out research using a variety of sources, share information and ideas and work cooperatively to build consensus. An underlying goal is to develop students who are accurately informed on climate issues relating to carbon.
While lessons can be used individually to address several specific outcomes in both science and geography, finding time to complete the entire unit is recommended in order to achieve the goal of well-informed students regarding the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change,
Lesson One will have great appeal to teachers (& students) exploring chemical reactions in grades 9/10. The remainder of the unit provides an opportunity to connect the chemistry of carbon and carbon reactions to the 'real world' challenge of climate change.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
The lessons require students to generate & investigate their own questions about carbon, energy & climate. In lesson 5 (I Can Change Your Mind About Climate) students examine data on rising CO2, consider various viewpoints (including skeptics) and formulate and express their own perspectives on climate change.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
As reflected in the lesson (4) that deals with climate systems & tipping points and ecological footprint lesson (5), students view climate in social, economic & environmental contexts.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
Carbon, energy and climate and the relationships among them are represented throughout this resource in appropriate depth and complexity.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
While significant time and attention are paid to having students reflect on their personal connection to climate change and requiring them to consider possible next (mitigation) steps, no concrete action project is undertaken.
|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
|Values Education||Very Good|
Several lessons require students to reflect on what they observe and discover, discuss shared experiences with their peers and provide explanations and perspectives.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
The ecological footprint activity (Lesson 5) requires students to compare and discuss results with different parts of the world. This discussion along with the video "Climate Change in East Timor"provide obvious opportunities to examine and discuss climate justice.
|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|
Lesson 4 (tipping points) and lesson 5 (ecological footprint) include a number of activities that will definitely raise concern for the health of our planet.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
A number of activities including the 'footprint exercise' and the 'sequestration field trip' make the learning concrete and local.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
While the majority of lessons address current conditions and circumstances, students do consider 'next steps'.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The resource follows a question, investigate and review template and students generate many of the questions themselves. The goal is for students to become better informed and more articulate on the issues.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The most obvious curriculum connections relate to science and geography. However attention is paid to improving literacy skills throughout the unit.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Very Good|
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
A wide range of activity types (video, lab demonstration, simulation, hands-on experimentation, field work, jigsaw, research, writing, discussion) will address the needs of different learning styles. No specific differentiation strategies are provided.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
There are a number of learning activities involving 'hands-on" experience as well as participation in simulations.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work cooperatively on regular basis. Lesson 4 (Climate Systems) features a jigsaw activity in which skills are taught and practiced.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
Each lesson concludes with suggestions for formative and summative assessment. Rubrics are not included.
|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.|
In several lessons students are required to share findings with their classmates. In the jigsaw exercise (Lesson 4) students depend on each other to provide essential information.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The video presentations & related activities that form the core of several lessons are based on relevant case studies.
|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||Very Good|
Having students decide on which questions to investigate is a key element of the resource. At different stages, students review what they have learned and then decide for themselves "what comes next".
|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.|