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This comprehensive resource provides strong curriculum connections to the earth sciences. In addition to the topics of rocks, minerals and soils, Core Concepts effectively addresses the need for mineral resource extraction (mining) as well as its impacts. Individual lessons feature a wide range of learning activities that are well-supported by the resource. Most of the activities are hands-on, easy to implement and involve students in guided inquiry. The five ‘stand alone’ units comprising Core Concepts include:
1. Structure of the Earth- Students are introduced to the physical structure of the earth and processes that have formed and continually shape it. Information is provided through short readings, video clips and students participate in a number of hands on activities that demonstrate core earth science topics including the earth’s layers, Tectonic plates, faulting & folding and volcanic and seismic activity.
2. Rocks and Minerals- Employing actual tools and tests used by geologists, students learn to how to identify the characteristics and properties of various minerals. An exercise with color photos (provided) illustrates how the ‘type’ of rock is based on its mineral component. Students are also provided with information and opportunities to learn how rocks are classified and changed via the rock cycle. Other topics include rock strata and fossils and geological timescales. The unit concludes with an engaging rock identification challenge.
3. Soil and Erosion- This highly hands-on study begins with a number of simple experiments to demonstrate the key processes of weathering and erosion and their role soil formation. Students then conduct a series of laboratory investigations into the components and core characteristics of soil. Information is provided on the various soil types leading to a discussion of the importance of soils as a natural resource, human impacts and the need for conservation. Other topics included glaciers and glacial landforms.
4. Mining Cycle- With the help of posters, videos, printed information, role play and simulation students learn about the different types of mines (surface vs underground), how mines are discovered, mining technology, and various methods of mine reclamation and rehabilitation. In this unit students also research and discuss the social, economic and environmental considerations surrounding resource extraction. Attention is also given to the importance of recycling given the non-renewable mineral resources contained within the many disposable products that make up our everyday waste.
5. Social & Environmental Responsibility- Students are given the opportunity to apply what they have learned in a real –world context. They take on the role of mining engineers and build a model of a surface mine. Using a case-study approach, students then investigate a proposal for a new nickel mining project in the fictitious town of Wakima. After studying the site and mining plans students take on the roles of key stakeholders and participate in a ‘town hall’ simulation that examines the economic, environmental and social considerations of the project.
The entire resource package effectively supports Earth Science and Geology outcomes in most grades (from 7-11) in most provinces. Individual modules and activities will prove effective in meeting curriculum objectives in other subject areas as well, including Geography and general Science.
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|
Much of the resource is focused on teaching key concepts/content in Earth Science. For those modules addressing mineral extraction, effort is made to represent a variety of perspectives.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
In both the Mining Cycle and the Social & Environmental Responsibility modules, students participate in activities in which they are asked to consider the social, economic and environmental dimensions of mineral extraction.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
While the description provided of mineral extraction is comprehensive, more attention could be given to the environmental and social impacts that can unfold during the active life of a mine. The need to prevent harm and the technology in place to do so are highlighted, but the record of successes and failures is not.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Attention is paid to the importance of and need for soil conservation and recycling minerals. Students do venture into the community to investigate the status of recycling efforts but taking action for personal or community change is not a point of emphasis.
|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
In those activities and exercises that examine human impacts on the environment, students are provided with opportunities to form and express their own values.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
|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|
Topics and discussions related to mineral extraction and soil formation should help foster both appreciation and concern on the part of students for the natural world.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
As part of the Weathering and Erosion Unit, students investigate and apply what they have learned to soils in their own communities.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Poor/Not considered|
While geological timelines are part of the Earth Science activities, the focus of attention in the mineral extraction discussions is on present circumstances.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
The learning framework used in the resource follows the '5E's' approach- Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. Units dealing with mineral extraction and mining allow students to explore various impacts and perspectives.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Poor/Not considered|
With the exception with a few communication and visual/music arts activities, the resource is focused on outcomes in the Earth Sciences.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The resource involves students in a number of guided inquiries in all 5 modules.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
All modules offer numerous hands-on activities. Some (eg. interviewing and community survey work) take learning into the community.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Activities allow for both individual and group investigation.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
Most activities include questions that can help assess student learning. Each module offers assessment ideas and rubrics.
|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.
Case studies are included in the feature video "Ground Rules" and in module 5: Social & Environmental Responsibility.
|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|
While the resource is largely directive in its approach, there are limited opportunities for students to choose the medium in which they work and to control the depth & area of their research.
|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.|