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Our Living Earth

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

This is a very creative collection of films and lessons intended to heighten students' awareness of the impact of human behaviors on the natural world.  Students will conduct an inventory of their household consumption of resources and launch an awareness campaign within their school.  The activities include authentic experiences at school, outdoors, at home and within the community

Please note.  The films required for the activities can be found by searching the NFB animation site

 

 

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • This resource explicitly teaches the analysis of one's ecological footprint.  Students also learn how to inform a greater audience on conservation issues.

Strengths

  • This resource is very interesting and includes a variety of activities which will appeal to a variety of learners. 
  • The films provided are engaging and attractive to the senses. 
  • The resource is easy to use, and easy to implement, complete with an introductory activity and an action project. 
  • There are some websites suggested for teachers to provide further information. 

Weaknesses

  • The idea of resource reduction is not covered in any detail.
  • There are few evaluation tools/tips offered.
  • Limited attention is paid to dimensions other than the environment.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Ecological Footprint
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Waste Management (4)

    • Liquid Waste
    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • Students are asked to compare their interpretations of the films with those of other students.  They are also asked to study the consumption rates of all of the students in the class.  It would be interesting, however, to know the resource consumption rate of other user groups within the community.
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
  • The only dimension of these issues that is addressed specifically is the environment.  Other dimensions are considered but will require emphasis.
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 not asked to consider solving the problems.  The point of this resource is to highlight the existence of the problems.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good
  • The awareness campaign that is the closing activity of this resource is an excellent opportunity to make a positive change in the community.
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
  • Students are shown all sides of the issues in this resource; both the importance of natural resources and the rate at which each student is personally using these resources.  Students are given the chance to consider their own behaviors and why they should care about the issue. 
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 resource concentrates on nature, rather than 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 Very Good
  • The Nature Walk and the films in this resource provide excellent opportunities for students to develop respect for the Earth.
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
  • The data collected in these activities is directly related to the lives of the students.  Students cannot help but see themselves in the lessons.
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 Poor/Not considered
  • This resource concentrates on the present time only.
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
  • For every activity included in this resource, students have the opportunity to discuss and consider various answers and to contribute their own opinions. 
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very Good
  • This resource does not concentrate on one area of the curriculum.  It includes math, science, health and social studies in such an interesting way that the students don't know they are learning!
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
  • Students have the opportunity to work on the concepts that appeal most to them, therefore becoming responsible for their own learning.  The development of personal ideas and connection to each student's life is central to this series of lessons. 
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 Very Good
  • There are many different kinds of activities included in the resource including those which will appeal to a variety of learners.  Furthermore it is not necessary to be a strong reader or writer to complete all of the 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 Very Good
  • There are authentic experiences built into most of the lessons; a nature walk, a study of personal resource consumption and an awareness campaign to promote responsible resource use are all included in the unit plan. 
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 work in groups.
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
  • There is a rubric included as well as a self-evaluation tool for the closing activity of this resource.  There are no suggested evaluation tools for the lessons.
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
  • Incidental teaching arises from cooperative learning and presentations.
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 Poor/Not considered
  • There are no case studies included with this resource. 
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 Good
  • Students are able to choose the topic for their pamphlet at the end of the unit. 
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.