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Food Security in the North

Secondary

Description

This unit will allow students to conduct research into the matter concerning Food Security in the
Canadian north. Through their research, students will be asked to take a stance on whether
enough is being done by our respective governmental bodies to address the issue, or whether the
issue of Food Security in the Canadian north will continue to persist due to the remote
geographic location of these communities and logistical barriers for companies to price food at a
more affordable price. As a culminating task, students will be asked to write a persuasive essay
stating their position on the issue of Food Security in the Canadian n

This unit allows students to conduct research into Food Security in Canada's North. Through their research, students will be asked to take a stance on whether enough is being done by our respective governmental bodies to address the issue, or whether the issue of Food Security in the Canadian north will continue to persist due to the remote geographic location of these communities and logistical barriers for companies to price food at a more affordable price. As a culminating task, students will be asked to write a persuasive essay stating their position on the issue of Food Security in the Canadian north.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The lesson plan provides opportunities for students to practice their skills In the following areas

  • research skills (reading and viewing for information/comprehension)
  • identifying cause and effect
  • articulating informed response to a perceived problem

Strengths

The topic of food security in the North is both current and critical and intellectually rich in that it allows students to consider a number of related issues such as equality/inequality of opportunity, government and societal obligations, and sustainability of traditional lifestyles. 

The information provided is sufficient in having students understand the causes and consequences of food insecurity but would require teacher direction to explore the related issues. 

Weaknesses

The basic weakness of the resource is pedagogical in that little direction is given to teaching ideas  that would better provide for student involvement and learning. 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource may be used by students at the secondary level who are studying the challenges faced by Aboriginal peoples, as a case study in the geograpic influence of place and location, or in an economics class that is exploring the issue of supply and demand. 

Relevant Curriculum Units

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  • Alberta
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        • Aboriginal Studies 20: Legislation, Policies and Cultural Change
    • Grade 12
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        • Aboriginal Studies 30: Aboriginal World Issues
      • Geography
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        • World Geography 30: World Patterns of Population and Settlement
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    • Grade 12
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        • B.C. First Peoples: The impact of contact and colonialism continues to affect the political, social, and economic lives of B.C. First Peoples
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
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        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
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        • Geographic Issues of the 21 st Century: Food from the Land
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        • Current Topics in First Nations, Métis and Inuit Studies: Towards a Just Society
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        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Food Supply: Production and Distribution
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        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Consumerism
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        • Canadian Geography 120:A Geographic Perspective on a Current Canadian Issue
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        • Geography of Canada 11: Geography of Risk
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        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Liveable Communities
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        • Native Studies: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Challenges
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        • Aboriginal Beliefs,Values, and Aspirations in Contemporary Society (College Prep.) Challenges
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        • A Geographic Analysis(Univ. Prep.): Spacial Organization: Relationships and Disparities
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        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) : Understanding Social Construction
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        • Native Studies 10: Economies: Aboriginal Perspectives
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        • B.C. First Peoples: The impact of contact and colonialism continues to affect the political, social, and economic lives of B.C. First Peoples
        • Social Justice 12: Defining Social Justice
        • Social Justice 12: Recognizing and Analyzing Injustice
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society

Themes Addressed

  • Economics (1)

    • Poverty Reduction
  • Food & Agriculture (1)

    • Food Security
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Hunger and Malnutrition
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Poverty

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

In providing the information needed to have students understand the issue of food security in the North, the lesson plan includes a number of video and print resources. The concerns of northern inhabitants are well represented and the efforts of the federal government outlined but we do not hear the case for the retail sector - although the cost of transporting goods from the North is noted. 

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

While not a feature of the activities themselves, the resource does provide the context to address the issue of food security in the North through the lens of sustainable development. Economic considerations (transportation costs, Northern poverty), environmental factors (climate, geographic isolation), and social change (cultural revolution in Northern lifestyle) combine to create the difficulties associated with food security in the North and must be considered in any policy or program the student might propose to mitigate or resolve the problem.

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

The complexity of the issue is addressed tangentially and requires a careful reading by the students to tease these out. The difficulties inherent in constructing and maintaining greenhouses in the North, the lack of competition in the retail sector, the cost of transporting goods, the poverty, the challenges associated with traditional hunting, and the difficulties associated with the federal government's Nutrition North Program are all noted as factors that would need consideration in resolving or improving the situation. 

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The lesson plan is intended to move the student from awareness of the issue of food security in the North to an understanding of the factors responsible, to an examination of the responses available, to the submission of a possible plan of action. Direction in developing an action plan, however, is not provided but left to the teacher's consideration.   

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 Good

In struggling with the causes and consequences of food security in the North and the possible responses, students may be expected to consider such value related questions as

  • should free enterprise trump other considerations?
  • does the Canadian government have a responsibility to provide the support necessary to allow people to live where they choose?
  • what obligation does a society have to support and maintain an indigenous culture?

Such value considerations are not explicitly raised by the lesson plan but are implicit in any discussion of what Canada's response should be.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Students may be expected to emerge from the lesson with a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by the peoples of the North, particularly the Inuit. Access to healthy food at a reasonable cost is one that all can relate to and the difficulties faced by Northerners in this regard is likely to appeal to the student's sense of justice and equity.

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 Poor/Not considered

The focus of the lesson plan - food security in the North - allows little or no opportunity for developing greater sensitivity with respect to Earth 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 Good

While the focus is on the North, the issue of food security is a universal one. Students might move from a study of the issue as it applies to Canada's North to a consideration of the reasons for the rise of local food banks and the problem of hunger and malnutrition in much of the developing world. An examination of these complimentary topics would allow students to recognize the link between the local and the global.

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

There is an opportunity here for teacher and students to examine the traditional lifestyle of the North with ts reliance on hunting and fishing, the reasons for and the consequences of the disappearance of that culture, and the possible future direction necessary for sustainable development in the North.

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 Good

The lesson plan is designed to introduce students to the issue of food security in the North, its causes and consequences. The answer or response to the situation is for the student to determine but is expected to be informed by an understanding of the causes as outlined in the background information provided.  

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

The lesson plan has both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary elements. An understanding of the problem of food security in the North requires an understanding of the economic forces at play - the "laws" of supply and demand, of competition and monopoly; of geographic realities such as location, place  and environment; of social factors like cultural change; of political policies and considerations.

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 Good

The core of the lesson plan is to have students understand the causes and consequences of high food cost in the North and to consider the possible responses to the challenges presented. The pedagogy employed is that of directed student research using the resources provided. The question is established - what can be done to address the problem of food security in the North. The answer is for the student to formulate.

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 Satisfactory

The lesson plan is rather limited in the pedagogy employed. Students learn about the issue of food security in the North by analyzing individually and collectively a series of related articles and videos. Teacher directed discussion is expected to identify and explore the relevant information. 

This would not prevent a more differentiated use by teachers of the resources provided. The opportunity is there but not the direction.

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

The topic of food security in the North is a real and serious issue and therefore satisfies one of the requirements of authenticity but the topic is also one that makes it difficult to approach using the tools of experiential learning. While the lesson plan does not suggest it, the  teacher might develop a role-playing exercise that simulates a meeting of those protesting food costs or a simulation in which the students are assigned a budget and try to purchase those foodstuffs necessary for a healthy diet.

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 Poor/Not considered

The lesson plan allows for but does not provide direction or suggestions for using cooperative learning in carrying out research into the topic.

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 Poor/Not considered

Suggestions or direction with respect to evaluation are not included in the lesson plan.

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 Poor/Not considered

Opportunities for peer teaching exist within the lesson but are not exploited by the lesson plan.

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

The various articles and videos included in the resource provide the required data and real life examples that are characteristic of case studies.

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 Poor/Not considered

The paucity of direction included in the lesson plan means that the locus of control is intended to rest with the teacher. 

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.