- What is ESD?
- Review Process
- Take Action
- Professional Development
- A project of
This inter-disciplinary resource is one of four teacher's guides based on David Suzuki's film, "Force of Nature". This guide focuses on different world views concerning stewardship of our planet- especially those held by Aboriginal Peoples. The lesson plans make a number of links between the film that is based on Suzuki's" Legacy Lecture 2010" and the high school curriculum.
Students explore the relationship between humans and the environment, examine Aboriginal views of nature, and then incorporate these ideas into a plan for a more sustainable future. Through video analysis, they identify 'common ground" emerging among Aboriginal peoples, religious leaders and scientists as to our place in the environment and examine how TEK and Western Science are contributing to an understanding and resolution of environmental crisis. The resource stresses that although humans have altered the physical and chemical integrity of the planet, these same qualities have made humanity a "force of nature" that can bring about a more meaningful future. In the final activity, students are asked to outline and implement an action plan which addresses an environmental issue.
The guide allows teachers to select excerpts from the documentary to support the teaching of individual topics. Each unit provides an organizational table identifying and describing the activities. It includes useful websites and links to provincial curriculum outcomes.
Unit One: Humans and The Environment
Activity One: Everything is Connected
Students play a game which simulates humanity's place in the “web of life”. The activity examines the concept that an ecosystem event can have both direct and indirect effects on other organisms in that system. Illustrated game cards and discussion questions are provided.
Activity Two: Competing Perspectives
Students examine the Haida view of humans and nature (the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life forms), those of the forest industry and the resulting conflict surrounding logging at Windy Bay. (Haida Giwali). In pairs, one student researches the Haida perspective on the logging and the other looks at the position of the federal government and logging company. Students then share each perspective with their partner.
Activity Three: Planning for the Seventh Generation
This activity highlights the fact that the concept of sustainability is not new to Aboriginals. Students create a poster that illustrates an indigenous perspective of the important human connection with everything on earth. Students are also asked to create and share stories that communicate the Aboriginal view of sustainability.
Activity Four: Exploring Other Viewpoints: A Common Perspective is Emerging
Students listen to commentaries from various Aboriginal people, scientists, and religious leaders on humanity's role in nature and compare these views to those of the Haida. Students are then asked to investigate Dr. Suzuki’s claim that leading science corroborates the traditional view that 'we are the environment'.
Unit Two: Looking Forward
Activity One: Visions of The Future
Five commonly held visions of the future- business as usual, deepening crisis, government intervention, technological intervention, and sustainable society- are examined and students describe which vision best incorporates the Aboriginal perspectives on securing our future. Students examine their own perspectives on the future of global climate change, acid rain, city smog, and loss of biodiversity and consider which of the above visions of the future provides the best fit.
Activity Two: Good News/ Bad News
Students examine the danger/opportunity dialectic and explore the ways in which recent developments represent both “good news” and “bad news”.
Activity Three: A Powerful Union-Western Science and Traditional Environmental Knowledge
Students examine how TEK and Western Science are contributing to our ability to understand and resolve environmental crises, specifically climate change. Students review some resource management programs initiated by Environment Canada in cooperation with Aboriginal people. Comprehensive lesson plans accompany a video on Inuit observations of climate change.
Activity Four: Yes We Can?
Students discuss Dr. Suzuki’s optimistic forecast for the future, reflecting and sharing their own beliefs. Students are divided into groups and asked to select an issue raised in “Force of Nature” (human population, resource depletion, habitat destruction, air/land/water pollution, loss of biodiversity) use a framework to outline a strategy to address the issue, and build a plan for action.
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 main focus of this resource in on Aboriginal perspectives and sustainable practices, with regards to the interdependence between humans and their environment. The views of scientists, ecologists, and world spiritual leaders are also included.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The approach promotes dialogue and discussion within groups of students with regards to Aboriginal perspectives on the connectedness of humans and the environment. Students are asked to incorporate what they have learned into making positive changes in their everyday lives and community.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||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
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
Powerful case studies foster empathy and respect for the Haida people.
|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|
Although the resource has no out-of -doors experience, a major theme is the interdependence and connectedness of humans and their environment.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Students are asked to create an action plan which has local focus. A major theme is that what has been labelled as an environmental crisis is really a "human" crisis.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
Present day situations are researched, evaluated and discussed. The future is seen as positive if society chooses to adopt a philosophy and lifestyle which values "oneness" with our natural world.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Although some guided inquiry is used,students are encouraged to consider and develop their own opinions.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although the primary fit is with social studies, Aboriginal studies and First Nations studies there are also learning activities related to language arts, science, and art.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
This resource has a variety of actvities, including a simulation game, research projects, cooperative learning opportunities, concept maps, graphic organizers, video analysis, and develping action plans. There are no accommodations suggested for struggling learners. Lessons touch on both the cognitive and affective domains.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The "Web of Life" game is effective in demonstrating the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Poor- although reflection questions are given, there are no rubrics, checklists, or any other assessment tools provided.
|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.
|Case Studies||Very Good|
|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|
There are opportunities for students to delve deeper into chosen issues, with good support from suggested resources.
|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.|