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Energy Leaders

Grade 7 Energy Solutions Module

Middle

Description

This resource provides an inquiry-based approach to learning about the Earth’s changing climate over time, including causes, evidence and impacts and the role of humans. The lesson plans allow students to learn more about climate change through their own questions, hands-on experiments and observations. The five lesson plans provide age-appropriate content, teacher backgrounders, students handouts, slideshows, slideshow notes, and tangible classroom resources.  

Lesson 1: Students will reflect on what they already know about climate change through a mind-mapping activity. They develop an understanding of the geological time scale by building a timeline in class, highlighting key events over the history of the Earth.

Lesson 2: Students will work in groups to familiarize themselves with one example of evidence of climate change. They then share their findings with a new group and learn from each other about other examples. Finally, students revisit their mind maps from Lesson 1 to show what they've learned. 

Lesson 3:Through a slideshow, students will learn about the causes of climate change, they will then design their own experiment to test one variable related to climate change and the greenhouse effect. In part two, students will set up and conduct their experiments before analyzing their results and adding new learnings to their mind maps from Lesson 1. 

Lesson 4: Students will explore renewable energy as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions before looking at examples of renewable natural gas.  Students will discuss sustainable practices and brainstorm examples. They will then share their thoughts on renewable energy and climate change through a Talking Circle. 

Lesson 5: Students will go for a walk in their community to identify factors and actions that affect the causes of climate change. Back in the classroom, students will brainstorm thoughts on questions about climate change and add them to their mind maps before reflecting on their learning in the module. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Construct a Mind Map
  • Plan and conduct their own experiment and inquiry, testing only one variable related to climate change
  • Analyse the results of their experiment

Strengths

  • Lessons are complete and easy to follow 
  • Student handouts are provided to support each lesson
  • Background information is available for all lessons for teachers
  • A glossary of vocabulary words is provided for all lessons
  • Students have full control during the activities and have multiple opportunities to share their opinions and beliefs
  • Assessment ideas are provided 
  • Extension activities are provided for each lesson to help students dig deeper into an area of interest

Weaknesses

  • Lack of strategies for learners with difficulty
  • Lack of assessment tools such as rubrics and checklists

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource would be excellent to introduce the concepts of climate change, renewable vs non-renewable energy, and greenhouse gas emissions or effects. 

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.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Energy (1)

    • Alternative Energy

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The issue of climate change is well presented and is based on both scientific data and knowledge of First Nations communities. After reviewing the information, students form their own opinions and take an informed position.

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

After reviewing all the information on climate change, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, students clearly see how environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue are connected.

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 Good

Students are encouraged to commit to do an action for a week or two to help with reducing the causes of climate change. As an extension, the lesson proposes to re-check with students after the two weeks and follow-up with a journal entry or further commitment to action.  

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 Very Good

Throughout the lessons, students are consistently encouraged to share their own beliefs and values. As well, students learn how to do this properly during a Talking Circle in lesson 4. 

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this resource

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

Students will go for a community walk to identify causes of climate change in their community. 

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 Very Good

During the last lesson of this set of five, students head outside in their community and identify causes of climate change. They are then asked to commit to one action that they will change for a week or two to help the Earth. 

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 Very Good

The lesson centers around climate change and therefore looks at the past in how it was caused, the present in where we are now, and actions to help our future. 

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

Throughout the lessons, students are asked to reflect on their learning and share their opinions. There is no right answer and students can share without judgement. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
  • Science 
  • English Language arts
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 Very Good

In Lesson 3, students get to decide one inquiry question they would like to answer and plan and conduct an investigation to answer their question.

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 variety of activities in this resource addresses the needs of visual, auditory, and kinesthethic learners. However, it does not include strategies for learners with difficulties. 

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 Very Good

Students get to conduct their own hands-on experiment. They also participate in a community walk to assess the causes of climate change in their own community therefore taking learning beyond the school walls. 

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

Students need to work in groups in order to be successful during this lesson plan.

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

Assessment ideas are provided in every lesson throughout this resource. However, no rubrics or checklists are 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 Very Good

Students participate in a jigsaw activity where they become experts on one evidence of climate change. They share their learning with their peers about that evidence of climate change. 

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 Good
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

Students consistently have a choice during the lessons in this resource.

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.