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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 skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Using chemical and biological indicators to determine ecosystem health
  • Using a dichotomous key

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
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

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

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 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:

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 Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
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 Satisfactory

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

Values Education:

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

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:

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 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 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 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.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
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 Satisfactory
  • Opportunities exist throughout but are not explicitly explored.
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 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 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 Satisfactory

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

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
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 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

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.