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Making Waves! Protecting Ontario's Aquatic Habitats

Elementary, Middle

Description

A series of sequential lessons designed to help students and teachers understand the impacts of invasive species on habitats and ecosystems, and provide tools and strategies to help stop the spread of invasive species.

Students will:

  • create a song to describe how humans can protect aquatic habitats.
  • play games that teach students to ask questions about animals and their adaptations, as well as food chains and the fight for survival.
  • emulate the transfer of food energy in a lake habitat through simulation and play.
  • take action to demonstrate others about the danger of releasing aquarium species into lakes and rivers.
  • create their own ultimate invasive species.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches:

  • about tints and shades through paint mixing.
  • definitions of invasive species along with examples.

Strengths

  • This resource is very well organized with specific learning outcomes and objectives.
  • The resource links directly to the grade four curriculum.
  • The resource provides numerous examples of assessment strategies throughout the lesson.
  • The resource follows an inter-disciplinary approach providing lessons in art, drama, ELA and science.
  • Lessons are locally focused and pertinent to the lives of the students.
  • Lessons are interesting and provide opportunity for students to play and be creative while learning.
  • Some of the lessons take place out of doors.
  • Simulation activities are designed to accentuate the students learning.
  • Case studies of invasive species along with colored information cards are provided.
  • Glossary of terms is provided for the teacher/students.
  • List of resources is provided for the teacher/student.
  • Students are encouraged to begin to share their knowledge with others.

Weaknesses

  • Resource does not explicitly teach skills needed for students to take effective action.
  • Lessons are mostly teacher directed.

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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Invasive Species

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory
  • Resource adequately addresses the issue of invasive species and their impact on the ecosystem.
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
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 Satisfactory
  • Students are given some opportunity to discuss preventative measures to prevent spreading of invasive species.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
  • Students create posters to educate people about proper aquarium creature/water disposal.
  • Students are not given the opportunity to further develop action experiences.
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
  • Students are provided with much information about the negative impact surrounding invasive species.
  • Students participate in a variety of lessons and simulation activities that will strengthen their understanding of the impact of invasive species.
  • Students are not exposed to a large amount of different perspectives.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
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
  • Some of the ecosystem simulation activities take place out of doors through outdoor games.
  • Focus of the lessons are related to appreciation of non-humans and their ecosystems.
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
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 Satisfactory
  • Students discuss the impact of invasive species to ecosystems in the future, and how invasive species originated in the water ways in Ontario.
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
  • Lessons are very teacher directed, and students are steered towards discovering a specific answer or way of thinking.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
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
  • Lessons are very much teacher directed
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
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
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
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 Good
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
  • Students create posters that educate others about the importance of properly disposing of aquarium creatures/water.
  • Students create songs teaching others about invasive species.
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
  • Resource provides adequate case studies of invasive species.  These are accentuated by invasive species information cards.
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
  • The majority of the lessons are teacher directed and students do not have the opportunity to choose elements of the program or the medium in which they wish to work.
  • Students are not given the opportunity to take part in extension activities.
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.