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Sow the Seed

Elementary, Middle

Description

 

By helping pupils understand that climate change is impacting agriculture worldwide, this classroom resource for teachers endeavours to encourage active global citizenship.

  • Pupils begin by planting some seeds of their own.
  • Teachers then select from the range of activities to allow their pupils to complete a wallchart.
  • Pupils use the wallchart to track their learning as they carry out these activities.
  • They must collect evidence of them learning more about the issue and also taking some action on it to complete the wallchart successfully.

 Activities to choose from include:

  • Investigating the effect of changing growing conditions
    on the yield of seeds to simulate the impact of changing weather conditions on farmers’ crops.
  • Using stories of farmers who are experiencing changes
    to the climate for their own creative writing.
  • Using information about maize and cotton to piece togetherthe story of these crops and the impact climate change is having on people’s ability to grow them.
  • Creating and sending messages about farmers’ experiences of climate change through 'plant pot messaging'. Students paint them, display them, or send them to important people like their MP/MLA/PM.
  • Reading stories from different parts of the world showing the actions people are taking in response to their experience of climate
    change to inspire the creation of activities in curricular areas.
  •  Designing and implementing a related action activity using a detailed action planning resource, which guides them through steps needed for planning, implementing and reviewing their ideas.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • How to grow plants/crops from seed.
  • How to create an action plan.

Strengths

  • The lessons are timely, engaging, raise questions and are easy to use.
  • There is a good quantity and quality of background information for the student that is at a reading level many ages can be successful with.
  • The accompanying Power Points are helpful.
  • The website provides plenty of background information and support to the teacher.

Weaknesses

  • There are no case studies that address food farming experiences in the western hemisphere.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • Canadian Identity: Citizenship
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        • Plant Growth and Changes
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        • Applications of SS
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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (2)

    • Climate Change
    • Weather
  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Interdependence
  • Food & Agriculture (2)

    • Food Security
    • Subsistence Farming
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Rural Issues

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • Matches ESD expectations.
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 Very Good
  • Multiple dimensions are introduced.  The issue is so interconnected to the way we live and have lived that students, with some guidance, can make many more connections.
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 lesson plan has a focal point, which in this case, makes the lessons manageable; doable.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good
  • A thorough guide is included for student driven 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 Very Good
  • A 'what you learned and what you did' reflection is included in the wallchart.
  • The action guide requires reflection.
  • Within the activities there are informal opportunities for discussion with peers.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very 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 Satisfactory
  • No out-of-doors experiences are suggested.
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 Good
  • The lesson's focus is 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 Very Good
  • a combination of guided and open inquiry.
  • If teachers choose to use the 'get active guide', students will also have the opportunity to engage in full inquiry. They would initiate a self-generated guiding question and then develop a method for answering it on their own.

     


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
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 Very Good
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
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
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 Satisfactory
  • No tools for teacher assessment of learning are provided.
  • The writing lesson has a component built in that provides opportunity for peer assessment for/as learning.
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 Very Good
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 Very Good
  • The included case studies span the globe but are all from the southern hemisphere.
  • The cases are unreferenced but are reportedly sourced by Oxfam.
  • The case studies offer detailed information, personal voices and pictures.
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 Very Good
  • Multiple opportunities for student input exist in these lessons.
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.