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‘Coming Home’ is the title of the final of four episodes in David Suzuki’s television series The Sacred Balance now available to teachers on DVD or VHS.
This resource, The Grade 11-12 Teacher’s Guide to Episode 4, Coming Home serves as a curriculum document to help teachers incorporate key ideas from episode four into the senior high science classroom. The guide is organized into ‘pre’, ‘during’, and ‘post’- viewing activities that explore the interconnectedness of life on earth by examining spiritual connections as an essential requirement for long-term human health and happiness. Student activities are organized around a number of contributing themes to convey how cooperation, love, our need to connect with nature and the importance of cultural diversity are the keys in understanding our place in nature. The guide also provides a number of on-line articles and one simulation for students to use in completing the activities.
Before Viewing - After examining resources selected by the teacher in preparation for viewing episode four students complete a personal inventory of their perspectives on modern science to help clarify their own current views on our place in nature. Students then complete word exercises that introduce some of the new fields of science to be featured in the episode.
During Viewing - Students are provided with a template to cue their attention to specific issues raised in the program that will be central to the activities and discussion that follow. Students make brief notes and record key phrases directly on the template. A script containing dialogue excerpts is also provided with the guide to minimize the amount of note-taking required.
After Viewing - The guide provides a number of activities designed to continue and deepen the discussion of themes presented in the episode. Students participate in a perception exercise that generates a discussion of the need for cooperation among living things. Next students work through a series of questions and complete a Venn Diagram to compare mechanistic with systems thinking and the implications of each for science, society and technology. In other post-viewing activities students look for additional evidence of love as a requisite force, conduct research into biophilia and evaluate the contributions that others have made to ‘restoring a secret balance’. In the summation activity, students are asked to interpret in writing the meaning of the episode’s title, Coming Home.
In addition to the student activities the guide includes a glossary and provides teachers with background information and suggestions for planning and implementation. The Secret Balance website has links to supplementary activities and sources of information.
Although considered supplementary by the publishers, the program episodes enhance the classroom experience and effectiveness of the student activities significantly. Episode segments can be found on you tube.
The resource does not teach skills.
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||Satisfactory|
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Satisfactory|
The issues presented in this episode and discussed in the activities that follow highlight social, spiritual and ecological dimensions.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
While the student learning is primarily passive, the contributions of both scientific and spiritual learning to solving complex problems is effectively represented.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|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|
|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|
While there is no provision for out-of-doors experience the importance of the intimate connection between humans and all other components of nature are effectively presented in the episode and reinforced with the activities.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The focus of this episode is more on what comes next, but it does make an effort to connect past, present and future and it provides students with reasons to be optimistic.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Students are asked to identify and evaluate systems thinking as an approach to problem solving but do not apply its principles in the activities.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The perception and Venn diagram exercises along with research questions offer students limited inquiry learning opportunities.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
While the bulk of the learning activities centre around reading and responding, students are provided with opportunities to:
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The activities do not incorporate specific case studies. However the segments presented in the episode and the material that students are given to read and reflect upon describe real events and current research.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|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.|