Search for Resources

Under One Sky

Why Animals Matter

Middle, Secondary

Description

This resource effectively illustrates the ways in which animals are important to the health and future of the planet. Four lessons demonstrate how human activities, including those related to climate change can result in habitat fragmentation and threaten the viability of entire ecosystems. The resource includes a teacher's guide, background information, student activity pages, videos and extension ideas for individual, group and community action.

Activity One: What’s your View? (1 x 60 minutes)

Teachers set up a 'four corners' activity in which students read a variety of statements concerning animal welfare and decide if  they agree or disagree. The class then discusses as a group the importance of animals in sustaining healthy ecosystems and the value of their relationships with humans.

Activity Two: Video (1 x 60 minutes)

Students watch a video called “Why Animals Matter” and complete a short quiz to check their understanding of key concepts raised in the video. A discussion follows on what can be done to make the world a better place for animals. Suggestions for extension activities are included.  

Activity Three: Eco-investigation (3 x 60 minutes)

Students go outside to study local biodiversity. Working in groups, they select a 2m square sample site near the school yard and determine the variety of plant, fungi and animal life found.  The inventory includes the  abiotic characteristics of soil, rocks, water sources as well as any evidence of human disturbance.  Students are also asked to take notice of the resources that species need to survive (food, water, cover and space) and how humans have impacted these resources.

Activity Four: Understanding Habitat (3 X 60 minutes)

After a discussion on the inter-dependency of the four core elements of a habitat, the class is invited to brainstorm ideas as to the causes and effects of habitat fragmentation and the importance of wildlife corridors. Students then review a newspaper article describing how habitat fragmentation due to road construction in parts of India has impacted elephant populations. Four groups of students take on the role of stakeholders in a wildlife corridor project for the benefit of these elephants. Groups must develop a persuasive statement to reflect their point of view. Peer evaluation and class discussion follow.

An extension activity suggests students research the habitat requirements of a wild animal, how these needs can be threatened by human disturbance and what solutions should be considered.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Persuasive writing skills
  • Predicting the outcome of a scientific investigation
  • Working with team members to carry out an investigation
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Defending a given position
  • Responding and reflecting on written and media text
  • Listening critically to others ideas, thoughts and points of view

Strengths

  • Easy to use and up-to-date
  • Excellent video, which is directly related to the learning outcomes of the resource
  • A variety of learning activities- including role plays and experiential learning
  • Gives students opportunities to express their own points of view and values regarding animal welfare and habitat protection
  • Helpful background information provided
  • Many useful links provided to animal fact sheets, threatened species list, ecosystem assessments

Weaknesses

  • Student action project ideas are not fully developed or supported

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource will enhance and support the teaching of   sustainable ecosystems, habitat loss, biodiversity and an appreciation of the natural world. It could also be used in geography classes to address outcomes related to how human activity has affected the natural environment. The video included could serve as an excellent tool to  'kick-off' Earth Day activities.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Investigations
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biological Diversity
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Ecosystems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biological Diversity
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions in Our Environment
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biological Diversity
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Patterns in a Changing World
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions in the Environment
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Systems in Action
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Liveable Communities
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Interactions in the Physical Environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment in the Global Community
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Life Science: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Ecosystems

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (5)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
    • Wildlife Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource aims to increase knowledge and awareness of the importance of habitat preservation and to build positive attitudes towards animal welfare. A number of different activities are presented and students reach their own conclusions.

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

The resource highlights the link between human activity, economic development and the threat to animal welfare.

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

The resource helps students understand some of the causes and consequences of human impact on the environment and vice-versa. The world is promoted as an integrated whole.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Action opportunities are suggested as lesson extensions.

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
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

Included in the activities is a discussion of the role companion animals play to help humans deal with social, physical, emotional, and psychologial problems.

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 resource does a wonderful job illustrating 'why animals matter'.

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 Good

The students complete an eco-investigation in their own neighborhood to witness "first-hand" the effect of human activity on local ecosystems and (possibly) examples of habitat fragmentation.

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
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

Students are encouraged to consider and develop their own thoughts and opinions. There are opportunities to link information and issues to their own experiences.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

This is primarily a science resource but there are opportunities to address outcomes in geography, language arts, art and social studies.

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 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 Satisfactory

Both cognitive and affective domains are addressed. The activities are varied and include student-led brainstorming, research projects, role plays and first hand experimentation. There are no specific accommodations for struggling students.

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 Good

The eco-investigation provides both hands-on learning and local focus.

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

Although there are some summative discussion questions provided in most lessons and a quiz to wrap up activity two, it is up to the teacher to design assessment tools and rubrics.

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
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 Satisfactory
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
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.