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Canada's Forests: Learning from the Past, Building for the Future- Vol. 1

Elementary

Description

Canada’s Forests - Learning from the Past, Building for the Future explores Canada’s rich forest heritage and the development of sustainable forest practices to ensure healthy ecosystems. The resource takes a look at the past, present and future of Canada’s forests and forest industries. The lessons incorporate interactive, hands-on activities that help students to see how forest practices have evolved over Canada’s history and present an understanding of forest ecosystems. The resource contains a series of eight lessons, for this review we take a look at lessons one, three, five and seven.

Lesson 1- Trees in our Community – Past, Present and Future

Students observe trees in their community and participate in a class discussion about past and present patterns of trees and tree communities. Through creative writing, drawing or mapping exercises students are invited to share their observations. They explore the role that trees have played in the lives of local residents past and present and make predictions about what the community will look like in the future based on the patterns noted.

 

Lesson 3 – Harvesting Timber – Old Ways, New Ways     Students begin by discussing past and present logging practices; they gather information about logging tools which were used in the past and those that we use today. They record their findings and prepare to be interviewed by their peers.

Lesson 5 – Creating a Miniature Forest

Students participate in an outdoor forest mapping activity. They locate and observe an interesting patch of forest floor and note their observations. They identify parts of their mini forest ecosystem such as insects, climate and life cycles.

 

Lesson 7 – Paper making – A 2000-Year-Old Art

Students investigate the history of paper by constructing an illustrated timeline using the information provided. Based on their timeline, they research and write a brief story about the role that paper played in a specific place, at a specific time in history. They make their own recycled paper using the same basic concepts that have been used since it was first invented.

 

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • interpreting and communicating information
  • how to make paper

Strengths

  • The lessons are detailed and easy to use
  • Activities are clearly defined and explained for both first-time and veteran teachers. 
  • Good quantity of background information for the teacher
  • Variety of hands-on learning activities to keep the students motivated and engaged.
  • Includes suggestions for field trips and videos to further enhance the learning.
  • Realistic time frames are suggested with each lesson.
  • Good variety of outdoor activities are suggested.

Weaknesses

  • No action projects are suggested
  • No action skills are explicitly taught
  • Information is dated to 2000
  • No assessment strategies or tools suggested
  • Few opportunities for students to present their learning to parents or the school community

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment
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        • Science 3.Our Local Environment: Science Technology Society and Environment (STSE)
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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (3)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Forests

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • Students are given the opportunity to look at the past, present and future of Canada’s forests and forest industries. The materials in the resource are drawn from many sources involved in forest-based education. The Canadian Forestry Association website provides more information on the organization's values, biases and assumptions.
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 addresses environmental, economic and social dimensions of the forest.
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 promotes dialogue and exploration but it will be up to the teacher to ensure a problem-solving approach is explored and respected.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
  • No action experiences are suggested in these lessons.
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 Good
  • Students present their observations and predictions about the forest. Some of the activities do encourage older students to reflect on the changing forest and its future. There are opportunities for students to share their perspectives.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
  • Students explore the role that trees played in the lives of local residents as well as in the lives of Native communities and the first settlers.
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:

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 Very Good
  • The learning takes place in the student's community.
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 Very Good
  • Students draw conclusions about their community before and after people settled there. They make predictions about the future of the trees in their community. Students learn about past and present logging practices. They explore the history of paper making in different cultures and the significance of its development.
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
  • Students are encouraged to make their own predictions and observations which they will share during class discussions. Reflection questions allow students to further explore issues of interest to them.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Geography
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
  • Students have the opportunity to choose questions to further investigate.
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 Good
  • Hands-on activities, exploration, observation, self discovery
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 Very Good
  • This resource is focused on experiential learning. Outdoor learning is part of the approach taken. Discussion and research begins from examining trees in the neighbourhood.
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
  • The resource suggests students can work independently, in small groups and in large groups. Cooperative learning skills are not specifically taught.
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
  • Teacher assessments would be in the form of activity products and anecdotal information gathered from group discussions. Self assessment is through student reflections.
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
  • Opportunities exist for students to present their work to their peers.
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 Good
  • Some case studies are provided.
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
  • The activities are a mixture of learner-centered and teacher-directed. There is some flexibility regarding content and medium for student work.
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.