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Evolution, Diversity and the Sustainability of Life

Wetland Ecosystems III

Secondary

Description

The resource consists of a student workbook and an accompanying teacher's guide.  The unit is divided into six lessons, each made up of short readings, classroom activities and questions relating to the three major concepts of evolution, diversity, and the sustainability of ecosystems.

  • Lesson 1 - A Species and an Ecosystem in Peril: Students will explore factors leading to the explosion in the snow goose population and evaluate potential management solutions through discussion and democratic processes.
  • Lesson 2 - Wetlands and Environmental Quality: Students will understand that human actions modify environments through direct changes to living things, water, air and land and through indirect effects.  Environmental quality refers to the ability of environments to be life-supporting.  A variety of biotic and abiotic factors are used as indicators of environmental quality
  • Lesson 3 - Specialisation and Natural Selection: Students will understand that individual living things can be categorised into groups that share common features.  The concept of natural selection provides a basis for interpreting the evolution, adaptation, and extinction of species.
  • Lesson 4 - Who Am I?: Students will learn how to classify living things based on similarities and differences among organisms
  • Lesson 5 - Diversity and Adaptations: Students will demonstrate an understanding that living things show a diversity of structural and behavioural adaptations
  • Lesson 6 - Wetland Field Trip: Students will practice the following skills: 1) work in field teams in a safe manner, 2) draw field maps, 3) set out study plots, 4) collect animal samples, 5) measure water clarity, 6) measure and calculate water flow, 7) identify and measure plant and animal specimens, 8) identify adaptations of animals to their environment, and 9) identify wetland impacts

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The snow goose case study is excellent.
  • Water quality lesson is descriptive and appropriate for this level.
  • Worksheets for wetland field trip are helpful.
  • The resource has strong curriculum connections across grade and ability levels, especially in science, geography and environmental science.  It provides an easy fit and has the potential to be widely used by teachers.
  • Lesson one is built around an especially effective case study.
  • The wetland issues and possible solutions presented in this resource continue today and will become even more of a concern in the future with increased urbanisation.

Weaknesses

  • The lessons do not seem to work well towards a common theme and there is little effort made to connect the six lessons.
  • The instructions to teachers in lessons one to three are unnecessarily lengthy in that they basically direct the teacher to walk the student through the student guide.
  • The alien project is huge.  Is enough information given to make the learning worth the trouble?
  • No well-developed action opportunities are provided.
  • Many of the reference material links are broken.
  • Little attention is paid to assessment.
  • The resource is very much teacher-directed.
  • A lot of time is spent in the area of  improving the students' knowledge as opposed to skills, attitudes, and higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • Wetlands need to be protected

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.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Chemistry
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11: Ecology
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Environment
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sustainability of Ecosystems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 120: An Overview of Environmental Science
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2200: Ecosytems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: Land Use & the Environment
        • Environmental Science 3205:Recreation & the Environment
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Interactions in the Physical Environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Human-Environment Interactions
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 421A: Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Science 431A: Ecosystems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Ecological Principles
        • Environmental Science 621A: Human Population and Carrying Capacity
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Applied Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
        • Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Science and the Environment: The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Sustainability of Ecosystems

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (5)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Carrying Capacity
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Good

The snow goose case study does a good job addressing this criteria.

Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

This resource explores social and some political aspects of environment. Opportunities exist for the teacher to bring moral, ethical and economic issues forward.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Poor/Not considered
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Satisfactory

Students can learn skills to deepen their understanding of responsible citizenship through debate and field study.

Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
  • Attention is paid to First Nations communities in Lesson 1.
  • The focus is on the physical and biotic environment, not on diverse genders, ethnic groups, social groups, or other groups of humans.
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
  • The field trip will be great. 
  • Other opportunities could be built in; teacher should be encouraged to do activities outside.
  • Lesson 1 - especially the video - illustrates the interconnectedness of humans and non humans
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Satisfactory
  • The snow goose lesson is very good.  It would be better if Ducks Unlimited gave several lessons to choose from and teachers/students chose the species most relevant to their local area.
  • Lesson 3: local species should be used (shark, dolphin, salmon...)
  • Local field trip is good.
Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Good

Lesson 1 connects past, present and 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 Satisfactory
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Satisfactory
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory
  • Opportunities exist throughout but are not explicitly explored.
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Satisfactory

Except for the referendum aspect to lesson 1, there is not much further exploration of values.

Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Good

The resource includes a field trip, a creative "create-an-alien" exercise, a film screening, as well as reading and graphing activities.

Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Only the field trip in lesson 7 achieves this.  The other lessons do not inlcude experiential learning activities.

Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
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

Through the lesson summaries, presentations and discussions, students can demonstrate their learning.  No formal assessment tools 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 Satisfactory
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 Satisfactory

Lesson 1- the snow goose activity is based on a well developed case study.

Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Satisfactory

Alien activity only.

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.