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This ESD resource addresses curriculum outcomes in high school science (physics, biology, and chemistry) through the lens of climate change. The lessons address climate change concepts through the use of open-ended questions, hands-on learning opportunities, research activities and a comprehensive section of web-based resources. The focus of each lesson is on discovery learning, addressing curriculum outcomes and ecological literacy. Action project suggestions are provided in 'Links to EcoSchools'.
Learning Activity: Students perform a lab activity over a series of several days to examine the effects of acid rain on plant growth. The emphasis is on exploring how human practices interfere with ecosystem function including changes in biodiversity. This lesson also includes discussions on genetically-modified organisms.
Research Activity: Students are asked to explore the differences between closed loop and linear processes and to explain how bio energy may be used to sustainably reduce energy use in artificial systems. Students examine examples of companies who are making efforts to “close the loop” in their industrial processes as a major step towards sustainability.
Learning and Research Activity: Students carry out a model population census to understand how the rate at which human populations consume food and energy limits the population growth of other species.
Research and Analysis Activity: Students study the impacts of environmental disturbances on natural populations within an ecosystem by conducting research on a “species at-risk” in Canada.
Learning Activity: Students explore the interactions among atmospheric carbon dioxide, the ocean and aquatic life by conducting two in-class experiments that simulate carbon dioxide uptake in oceans and the resulting impacts of ocean acidification on aquatic organisms. Guiding questions relate the production of greenhouse gases to the burning of organic hydrocarbons (through oxidation – reduction reactions) and also questions the student’s knowledge of Canada’s official position on climate change.
These activities investigate how the energy transformation from different energy sources affect the environment.
Learning Activity One: Students go outside to collect first-hand data by recording the time required for a vehicle to drive through the drop-off area of a school. Students discuss the implications that idling time has on vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency.
Learning Activity Two: This activity involves the collection and analysis of real world data to explore vehicle efficiency and its effect on carbon dioxide emissions. Students use suggested websites to examine fuel ratings (carbon dioxide emissions for highway and city driving) and emissions produced by their family vehicles during a daily commute to school. After performing a graphical analysis the class discusses why some cars are more efficient than others and why consumers continue to buy inefficient cars.
This resource can be used to develop an understanding of important enironmental issues while addressing specific outcomes in high school physics, biology, and chemistry. It can also be used by an environmental club as a basis for a community forum on the effects of climate change. Geography teachers could use this to emphasize the link between human activity and issues with our natural environment.
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||Good|
Through research and analysis students come to their own conclusions. Students carry out hands-on activities and interpret the data they collect.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The resource highlights the link between human activity and both environmental and economic sustainability.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
This resource identifies the many interactions between humans and the natural world, which helps students understand some of the causes and consequences of human impacts on the environment.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
There are great suggestions for action projects and relevant links to ecoschool
|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: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
|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||Very Good|
The students go out of doors to complete a population census of local species and to measure idling times in school drop-off zones. A focus on ecological literacy and being stewards of the environment is paramount in this resource.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The "local" species population census and the statistical analysis of the family car carbon dioxide emissions bring local focus and relevance to the lives of the learners.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local 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.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
This resource has an emphasis on open-ended questioning and student-led inquiry though brainstorming, individual research projects, group investigations and first-hand experimentation.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This is primarily a science resource, but there are opportunities for addressing outcomes in math, geography and language arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
A wide range of activities are provided that teach to both the cognitive and affective domains. There are no accommodations suggested for students with learning difficulties.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
Lots of excellent questions are included. Teachers may have to develop assessments for testing knowledge-based outcomes.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
There are some case studies briefly described in the teacher background section on climate change, and in the suggested web resources.
|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|
Open-ended questions and choice on research projects allow for students to delve deeper into chosen issues. The suggested resources provide great support for students in completing these.
|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.|