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The activities in this resource provide background information on a First Nations and Métis perspective or worldview and their respective concept of sustainability. The lessons were developed to address objectives from the unit entitled Life Science: Sustainability of Ecosystems (SE) in the Science 10 Saskatchewan Curriculum Guide. Students participate in talking circles, simulations, group discussion and role play to explore core elements of the ecosystem concept. Students will also discuss and reflect on a number of readings and essays provided by the resource to better understand Indigenous perspectives on the themes of stewardship and sustainability. As such this resource should be of interest to those teaching about ecosystems at the high school level in all jurisdictions.
The resource provides students an opportunity to practice skills related to
The resource has a number of strengths:
The resource is designed to support the grade 10 Science unit on sustainability but would also support those units of study that have students investigate issues related to resource management. It would also be of interest to educators teaching courses focusing on Indigenous studies
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 goal of the resource is to have students recognize that our perspectives are shaped in part by our worldviews, which in turn are shaped by our culture. There are, according to the resource, a variety of perspectives on sustainability, including a First Nations and Métis perspective, an ecological perspective, a conservationist perspective, and a utilitarian perspective.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The competing perspectives illustrated by the resource reflect in part the relative weight each gives to economic, social and environmental considerations. System thinking is further encouraged by having students examine the biotic and abiotic or the animate and inanimate interactions in an ecosystem.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The resource encourages students to think in circular rather than linear terms and in multiple rather than single causation. It asks students to consider the risks and benefits to a society and the environment of applying scientific knowledge as against traditional environmental knowledge in our approach to "development".
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
The final lesson - Demonstrate Understanding - in the resource suggests that students consider a class letter to the local newspaper on an aspect of sustainability or the development of an individual action plan.
|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 exploring the perspectives towards the environment represented here by the First Nations and Métis people, by ecologist, by those who take a utilitarian approach and by conservationists, students may be expected to see the underlying values and assumptions represented by each and thereby begin to sort out their own values.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
A central goal of the resource is to help students understand the First Nations and Métis worldview and their perspective on nature on the assumption that greater understanding will lead to greater respect. The use of talking circles to discuss the questions asked of students also contributes to greater mindfulness in their relation to others.
|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|
Two of the key questions addressed by the resource ask students to consider what their roles and responsibilities are in looking after the earth? and how shall we look after the earth? In answering these questions, students explore the First Nation and Métis worldview and how this shapes their perspective of living and non-living things and their treatment of the earth.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Lesson three- Perspectives on the Environment - asks students to respond to pictures of the local environment so as to reflect the perspectives of First Nations and Métis, Ecologists, Utilitarians, and Conservationist. This is followed by a role playing activity in which each of the groups must decide how to respond to a local environmental challenge. The resource also encourages teachers to invite a local Elder to speak to the class about the Indigenous view of nature.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The resource is intended to help students recognize and understand the difference between traditional indigenous knowledge and that of the current Western or scientific approach to the environment and perhaps to suggest that our future approach to the environment should be informed by both perspectives.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
The lessons are designed to have students recognize a variety of perspectives on sustainability and understand that these perspectives emerge from different world views.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
Although the lessons are intended to support the grade 10 Science unit on ecosystems found in most provincial and territorial curricula, its attention to different worldviews and the perspectives that emerge from those views give it wider curriculum relevance. Since those perspectives influence how we approach resource management, the lessons would have application for a number of Geography courses and to those courses that focus on Indigenous studies.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The resource identifies the essential questions to be examined by students and provides a framework for their investigation that is largely teacher directed. The group discussions and the role playing simulations, however, allow the students a degree of autonomy in determining the direction and depth of their study.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The resource adopts a variety of pedagogical strategies - talking circles, ranking activities, response to visual prompts, role playing/simulations, and presentations by local resource persons.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The resource helps students understand that the way they react to the world is determined by their worldview and the perspectives that flow from that worldview. Students come to an appreciation of this reality by having them respond to the local environment and the challenges attached and by having them view that environment through a variety of lenses.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
The use of talking circles, ranking activities, role playing and other forms of group activity requires students to interact with one and other and learn from the positions taken by others and the defenses offered in support of those positions.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Very Good|
The resource provides teachers with a variety of formative assessment tools - circle activity, ranking activity, group discussions, and exit slips along with a performance task that serves as a summative evaluation.
|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 opportunities arise from the variety of group activities. Students must convince others of the importance of our obligation to care for the earth; of the merits of various worldview with respect to our approach to the earth and its resources; and of how they should respond to selected environmental challenges.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Students must demonstrate their understanding of the different perspectives the lesson introduces by responding in kind to one of two case studies, both of which are 'real" in the sense that they reflect issues found daily in the newspapers.
|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||Good|
The resource is an example of guided inquiry, with the direction and control of the lessons in the hands of the teacher, but because a number of the activities are somewhat open-ended they allow for a degree of student input.
|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.|