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Canada's Boreal Forest: Tradition and Transition

Volume 8

Secondary, Middle

Description

This nine-lesson resource targeted for both middle school (lessons 1,2,4,5,6) and high school (lessons 3,7,8,9), promotes an understanding of the importance of the Canadian Boreal Forest in terms of its biodiversity, unique habitats, and wealth of natural resources.

Activities focus on highlighting the dependence of Canadians on forest resources and how valuable the Boreal forest is in terms of income, spirituality, recreational pursuits, and cultural traditions.  Emphasis is also given to the ecological importance of keeping natural habitat intact and the importance of sustainable resource management.

Lesson One: Who Travels The Farthest? (1x90min)

After reading handouts and doing research on the web, students predict which of ten bird species migrate the farthest distance from the Boreal Forest. They then plot  these locations on a mapping grid. Summarizing questions are answered before completing a matching activity.

Lesson Two: Fly Away Home (1x90min)

After discussing why the Boreal Forest is a highly suitable breeding habitat for many bird species, students map the migratory movements of two bird species who nest in the Boreal Forest. They will then answer reflection questions focusing on why the Boreal Forest is the "Nursery of The North".

Lesson Three: New Challenges In A New Climate (2x75min)

After a class discussion on how the make-up of ecosystems will change due to global warming, students investigate the adaptations of a chosen Boreal species using the internet and print materials. Then, given a description of future conditions that might exist in Canada due to this global climate change, students write and present a report on how that same species will adapt in the future.

Lesson Four: Interdependent Me (1x60min)

This lesson is a class game and cut-and-paste activity that emphasizes the dependence we have on forests for certain products and how the relationship between extractors, processors, sellers and users is interdependent and important.

Lesson Five: Creating Your Own Conservation Group (3x75min)

Students will do internet research on two conservation groups relating to forests, migratory birds, and biodiversity. (List is provided) They will then create their own conservation group and design their organization's website.

Lesson Six: Minimizing Forest Fragmentation (1x60min)

Students will be introduced to the concept of forest fragmentation through class discussions and a hand-out. The importance of intact habitats to biodiversity is emphasized by cutting out and arranging images representing various sources of fragmentation on a forest landscape page. Lesson summarizing questions are then completed.

Lesson Seven: The Canada Forest Accord (1x75min)

Students read and then analyze the Canada Forest Accord by answering questions on the document. A class discussion follows exploring its vision, principles, and commitment to the sustainability of Canadian forests.

Lesson Eight: The Forest Times (5x75min)

Students will create a class newspaper featuring forest-related articles and illustrations. Topic lists, ideas, and outlines are provided.

Lesson Nine: Forest Resource Management: A New Era (3x75min)

Students will break up into two groups to research current Boreal forest management plans, and the increasing role of Canadian Aboriginal people in developing land-use strategies. One group investigates the concept of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, while the other researches the management of timber harvests to emulate natural disturbances like forest fires. Websites are provided. The two halves then present the central concepts to each other.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Analyzing and evaluating text
  • Responding and reflecting on written and media text
  • Making predictions
  • Interpreting patterns and trends in data
  • Working cooperatively within a team to develop and carry out a plan
  • Presenting information in different ways
  • Identifying and using a variety of sources and technologies to gather information

Strengths

  • Lessons and handouts are well-written and clear
  • Worksheets and reflection questions are age-appropriate and answer keys are provided
  • The word glossary is very useful
  • Excellent link to Hinterland Who's Who for research
  • Great set inductions for lessons
  • There are varied activities with each lesson 
  • Material is up-to-date
  • The  important role of traditional knowledge is included
  • Lessons are clearly targeted for certain age groups

Weaknesses

  • No "hands-on" activities or "out-of doors" experiences
  • No rubrics provided for evaluation or suggestions for assessment
  • No authentic action experience in the resource
  • No accommodation or modifications suggested for struggling learners

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.

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  • Alberta
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      • Science
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
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      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • FOR1010: Forest and Society
        • FOR1100: Forest Use and Protection
    • Grade 11
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      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • FOR 2070: Sustainable Fibre Harvesting & PracticesMaking a Difference
        • FOR2030: Regulating Alberta Forests
        • FOR2060: Forest Management
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
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        • Environmental Science 12: Sustainable land use is essential to meet the needs of a growing population
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        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep) : Ecological Systems: Interactions and Interdependence
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        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
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        • Science 421A: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
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    • Grade 7
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Sustainable land use is essential to meet the needs of a growing population
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Human Geography 12: Human activities alter landscapes in a variety of ways.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems (5)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
    • Wildlife Protection
  • Governance (1)

    • Government Regulations
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • TEK -- Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Forests
    • Habitat Restoration

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

The importance of the Boreal Forest is far-reaching and very complex with many stakeholders. Nonetheless, lessons give an adequate overall picture of economic, environmental, and social impacts.

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 emphasizes that all Canadians have a right to provide input to the government on the management of the economic, environmental, and cultural aspects of the Boreal Forest. It also highlights the many economic and social benefits the forest provides, at the same time emphasizing that constant vigilance is needed to preserve diversity and habitat.

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 dependence of Canadians on resources found in the Boreal forest is complex and touches all sectors of society. Equally challenging is the preservation of diversity and ecosystem sustainability. This resource is able to address these issues in an effective way, without going into too much detail. The far-reaching effects of climate change however, does not receive full attention here.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Poor- there are no authentic 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 Satisfactory
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 Poor/Not considered

Poor- There are no "out-of-doors" experiences.

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

There are so many products that we use that originate in forests that the issues discussed in the resource have local focus. As well, the set inductions effectively relate forest-related situations to the everyday lives of the students.

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

There are no discussions of the past. The present situation is the focus of the resource. The future is seen as positive only if forest management strategies are implemented by all sectors of society and that all Canadians ( especially Aboriginals sharing traditional knowledge) have input into these plans.

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

Although teacher directed, students have ample opportunities through activity completion, research, and discussion questions to appreciate the importance of the Boreal Forest to Canadians.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

Although mainly a science/geography focused resource, it does contain learning opportunities in the subject areas of math, language arts, art, and technology.

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
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

A wide range of activities are offered at different age levels. Both the cognitive and affected domains are addressed. There are no accommodations suggested for students with reading or learning difficulties.

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 Satisfactory

Simulations, games and worksheet activities are the main experiences.

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 worksheets, reflection questions, and answer keys are provided with some lessons, there are no specific suggestions given for either formative or summative assessment. Rubrics are lacking for lessons especially those which involve creating a web page, researching adaptations, presenting forest management strategies, and creating a class newspaper.

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 Poor/Not considered

Poor- There are no relevant case studies used.

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

Students do have opportunities to choose elements of program content in some extension activities, in the creation of the newspaper, and in designing a web page for a conservation group.

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.