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This comprehensive resource encourages students to engage in nature and make positive changes to their environments. Its focuses on the problems associated with shoreline litter and supports an action project to ‘clean up’ a local shoreline. The culminating field trip provides an engaging exercise in environmental stewardship and encourages further action on other local environmental issues. Lessons are well organized and easy to implement. They include geographic mapping exercises, food web games, shoreline ecosystem activities, hands-on learning opportunities related to ocean litter degradation, classroom trash audits, reading First Nations legends, creative writing activities, reflections on videos, research on environmental issues, art projects, running though obstacle courses to learn about shoreline safety, solving math problems, debating points of view, interpreting environmental issues using music and drama, participating in a mini-scavenger hunt, and the shoreline clean-up field trip. Cross-curricular activities are paramount.
Lesson One: From Shore to Shore (45 min)
As an introduction to the shore line clean up activity, students are given maps of Canada and are asked to identify shorelines in each province and discuss and brainstorm who they think is responsible for cleaning them. They then find the location of 25 shoreline cleanups across Canada and highlight them on a map. After completing a map scale activity, students write a reflection on what they learned.
Lesson Two: Our Diverse Shores (60 min)
After discussing the definitions of different types of shorelines, students create a list of examples and then identify the type pf shoreline in their clean up area. They then use a graphic organizer to identify biotic and abiotic elements in that ecosystem. Students then paint or draw one of these elements and, using a class bulletin board, connect these elements together with string to show interactions and relationships. These relationships are then labelled predator, prey, shelter or energy source. Suggested follow-up activities include a game of charades to act out their element in the ecosystem, and class discussions on the impact of the disappearance of an element and the additional stresses created by human activity.
Lesson Three: Shoreline Studies (60 min)
Students read age-appropriate First Nations legends, and then write a legend about one of the elements in shoreline ecosystems. Suggested follow-up activities include acting out their legends in small groups, and illustrating their stories by researching First Nations art styles and techniques.
Lesson Four: Journey to the Sea (90 min plus extension time)
Students watch a film or read a story about an item’s journey along a water way. They then brainstorm sorts of things they think would end up in our water and oceans and record them in a chart. Examining a map of local waterways, students write and illustrate a story of their own item’s journey. A gallery of art and stories are displayed and a discussion ensues.
Lesson Five: What Litters our Shores? (45 min)
This lesson encourages students to use art to tell an environmental message. Students use statistics from past shoreline cleanups and represent them using art. Students then use and interpret tables to create single and double bar graphs, pictographs, and circle graphs to represent data.
Lesson Six: Travelling Trash (60 min)
Three small experiments are done which demonstrate how ocean currents, wind and temperature work, and to determine which types of litter biodegrade the fastest and slowest in water. Students then watch a video on the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” as a way to emphasize the prevalence of plastic in world waterways.
Lesson Seven: Trash in my Tummy (45 min)
A teacher-led discussion into the terms producers, consumers, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and food webs in ecosystems is followed by an active tag game involving collecting tokens and stickers representing food, energy, and pollution poisoning. Students learn that an organism’s survival depends on its ability to escape predators, obtain food and avoid pollution. Students discuss how a shoreline cleanup might change the outlook for an individual organism’s survival.
Lesson Eight: Our Trashy Class (90 min)
After predicting which items will be present, students perform a trash audit, sorting lunchtime garbage to determine how much recyclable, non-recyclable, and compostable trash is generated in one lunch hour. They then weigh and measure the garbage collected and brainstorm and implement a plan of action to reduce waste. Students recognize that it is often their own most commonly found trash that ends up on shorelines. Students use data management techniques to represent their data, and ratios to make predictions about waste production on a larger scale.
Lesson Nine: Current Issues (90 min)
Students research a current local, regional, or global environmental issue using a graphic organizer with guiding questions. They then identify the positions of two or more stakeholders involved in the issue, and present a debate that illustrates the complex issues involved. They are then asked to brainstorm possible solutions.
Lesson Ten: Shoreline Cleanup Safety (60 min)
This team building activity, using a 6 station obstacle course reinforces the leadership, cooperation, communication, behavior, and safety expectations for the field trip.
Lesson Eleven: Clean-up Day
Besides the major focus involving the shoreline cleanup, students also participate in a nature appreciation exercise, a mini scavenger hunt, a bucket habitat activity and water quality tests. Students complete data collection charts, and these are eventually shared in a citizen science link. A suggested follow-up activity is to research traditional First Nation’s use of shorelines.
Lesson Twelve: Shoreline Superheroes (60 minutes)
As part of a post clean-up celebration, students choose an art, drama, or music project to celebrate their accomplishments and themselves as environmental leaders. Suggested follow-up activities include connecting with another school who also volunteered with a shoreline clean-up, and writing letters to local governments expressing the importance of shoreline conservation.
Lesson Thirteen: What’s Next? (60 min)
Students identify an environmental issue of local concern, brainstorm steps to alleviate the problem, and implement a plan of action.
This resource can be used as a cross curricular project at the middle level, as it comprehensively supports a community-based action project to address outcomes in science, math, language arts, art, drama, music, physical education, geography and social studies. Individual lessons can also be used to reinforce many concepts in middle level science classes- interactions of ecosystems, biodiversity, water systems and planet stewardship. Geography and social studies classes can use it to highlight the effects of human activity on the environment. It can also be used by eco-clubs or after-school science education programs to promote and educate people on the importance of waste reduction and the consequences of littered shorelines.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
The resource provides many activities related to shoreline ecosystems, their location in Canada, and the role that everyday waste production plays in contributing to shoreline litter. Students gather facts and information in various types of activities, and draw their own conclusions.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The resource links the environmental issue of shoreline litter to human activity. The production of excess waste has an impact on the sustainability of shoreline ecosystems.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The various activities in this resource work to identify the interactions between humans and the natural world. It helps students understand some of the causes and consequences of human impacts on the environment.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Very Good|
|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
Group discussions do provide some opportunities for values clarification, but there needs to be more time to reflect and express these.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
|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 shoreline clean-up activity is a true example of planet stewardship, as students work to restore an ecosystem which has been altered by human activity.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Very Good|
Students perform a classroom trash audit and brainstorm ways to decrease the amount of lunch hour waste produced. The shoreline clean-up takes place in a local area, and the connection between the waste produced by the community and a littered waterway is very relevant to the students.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
Students examine the locations and the results of previous shoreline clean-ups and then perform a clean-up on a local shoreline. They see how ecosystems can be affected and could be empowered to help keep shorelines litter-free in the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
A combination of structured and guided inquiry is used. Students are asked to develop their own action plan for a local issue after the shoreline clean-up celebration.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
An excellent cross-curricular, direct-action conservation program with a Canadian focus.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The resource is based on a guided inquiry model.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
A strength of the resource is that it promotes an emotional connection with the problems associated with waste entering local water systems. There are no accommodations suggested for struggling readers. The many varied activities address a range of learning styles.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
Hands-on, minds-on learning is prominent. The clean-up experience is related to the primary goal of the resource.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
There are some assessment tools provided but only one rubric is included for the entire package.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
There are some references to earlier shoreline clean-ups and some statistics given but they are not thorough. The many video suggestions(with links provided) do contain some effective descriptions of real events in real situations.
|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|
The students are given choice in research projects, and the medium in which they work. There are opportunities for students to delve further into topics and creativity in music, art and dramatic assignments is encouraged.
|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.|