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Watershed Connection Guidebook

Secondary

Description

Watersheds are considered through five comprehensive modules that address knowledge, skills and action.  Focus is on watersheds of British Columbia.

  • Module 1, Watershed Works! explores how we define watersheds, the biological, geological and climatic conditions which influence and, in turn,are influenced by our watersheds, and the diversity of life within British Columbia's watersheds.
  • Module 2, Watersheds and Culture, investigates the relationships that exist between watersheds and human beings. From First Nations to early European explorers and settlers to present day inhabitants, the watersheds of British Columbia have shaped, and likewise been shaped by, human beings.
  • Module 3, Going Global, shares with us the big picture of watersheds - on a global scale. Using activities that focus on a different country, students will gain insight into other cultures and the different ways in which people globally interact with, rely on, and modify their own watersheds - and the potential repercussions of doing so.
  • Module 4, Watershed Worries, examines the challenges surrounding watersheds within British Columbia, such as polluted drinking water, disappearing habitat and deforestation, as well as viable solutions to these issues.
  • Module 5, Watershed Stewardship, teaches action skills and supports student action in their own communities on behalf of local watersheds.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • Background is provided in the resource and through web links.
  • The beginning of each module is correlated to curriculum topics.
  • There are many innovative teaching ideas which are well developed with explicit instructions.
  • The guide book is thorough and the activities would be easy to use.
  • Very balanced, objective approach.
  • Action skills are explicitly taught.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of teacher assessment and evaluation strategies.
  • Lack of student self assessment suggestions.
  • Need for student values clarification which would be very appropriate after many of the activities.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • Aquatic organisms rely on clean functioning ecosystems in a watershed.
  • Canadians have safe water.

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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Carrying Capacity
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
    • Invasive Species
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

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

    • Habitat Restoration
    • Planting Native Species
  • Water (3)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Watershed Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Very Good
  • Points of view of current British Columbia citizens, settlers, Aboriginal Peoples of British Columbia and citizens of El Salvador are presented.
Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • Ecological, cultural, health issues presented.
  • Solutions suggested or to be determined by participants.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Very Good
  • In Module 5, Watershed Stewardship, students are given information about  writing letters and developing press releases as part of an action project in Activity 1:  Get Active!
  • In Activity 3: Nature Scaping 101, students are instructed in planning a stream clean up or naturalizing an area near their school.
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Very Good
  • Letter-writing, checking for bias, calling a radio show, organizing a public event, writing effective press releases and media relations.
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good
  • Students consider current and past Aboriginal people, settlers and present day citizens of British Columbia and people of El Salvador.
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
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Good
  • For British Columbia students.
  • Could be adapted for use in other jurisdictions.
Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Good
  • The past in B. C. is considered.
  • Present issues are addressed both in British Columbia and El Salvador.
  • The future of treating water in El Salvador so that it is potable is illustrated.
  • Students are given an opportunity to create their own positive vision of the future of watersheds in British Columbia with action projects in Module 5.
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
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Very Good
  • Module 1:  students map, examine nutrient cycle diagrams, research, create brochures and relate weather to biogeographic zones.
  • Module 2:  students research and write including poetry and skits.
  • Module 3:  students read case studies, interview, work with numbers, role play.
  • Module 4:  students read, listen to and record news items, evaluate bias, report to class.
  • Module 5:  students consider water distribution systems, water quantity, letter writing, communication, planning and action.
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Good
  • Particularly good with mind map in Module 3.
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Satisfactory
  • Module 4 debate- students have stake holders perspectives.
  • Module 3 Activity 2- students consider the perspective of someone in El Salvador.
  • Don't actually commit to detemining their own view point on water use and water shed protection.
Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Very Good
Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Very Good
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
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 Poor/Not considered
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 Good
  • Opportunities provided through reports on media issues in Module 4 and Nature Scaping in Module 5
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
  • Module 2 Activity 3 - Fraser River
  • Module 3 - El Salvador:  The GAIA Project partnership between the Sierra Club of B. C. and Salvadorian Center For Appropriate Technology.
Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Very Good
  • Following a media issue of choice in Module 4.
  • Stewardship project of choice in Module 5.
  • Ethnobotany research of plant of choice in Module 2.
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.