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In this lesson, students will consider the connection between pollution and inequality in Canada and around the world.
Introduction: After discussing the definition of ‘environmental racism’, students watch a video and review recent reports that examine the problem of contaminated drinking water and consider reasons why it is so prevalent in First Nations communities in Canada.
Learning Activity: Using a Jigsaw strategy students examine and share findings from 5 significant case studies describing pollution effecting first nations communities. Based on this analysis and their interpretation of the relevant sections of existing legislation, declarations, charters and protections (provided) students then decide whether or not each case is an example of environmental racism.
Culminating Activity: Students complete a written reflection describing the causes and consequences of lack of access to clean water for First Nations communities in Canada and to what extent it meets the definition of environmental racism.
The lesson includes all the documents and other materials students will require as well as resource material for teachers.
The lesson addresses an important issue in Canada (and elsewhere)
The topic and the learning tools provided are current, engaging and relevant
The lesson can support learning in a number of curriculum areas and emphasizes several core learning competencies
All the materials necessary to complete the activities are included
The lesson will be of interest to teachers looking to provide students with an interdisciplinary examination of an important Canadian social justice issue. It's systems thinking approach to environmental racism supports curriculum outcomes in social studies, science, geography, world issues, and citizenship at the secondary level.
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
The reliance on actual case studies and current data gathered from a variety of sources, allows students to take informed positions.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions
The lesson does a good job illustrating how social justice, the environment, poverty and racism are interconnected.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The case studies do a very good job in revealing the complexity of environmental racism and the challenges in addressing it.
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning
This criterion is not directly addressed.
|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
The discussion questions provided to guide the jigsaw activities provide information but promote discussion and reflection as well.
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans
The lesson successfully illustrates for students the connection between inequality and pollution. Students are made painfully aware of the legacy of harm to environment, health and livelihoods that first nations and other groups of people have been made to endure.
|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
The devastating ecosystem impacts from mining, deforestation, petrochemical and other industrial pollution are made clear for students to consider.
|Personal Affinity with Earth:
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The Canadian focus of the lesson and geographical range of case studies it provides help make the lesson highly relevant to the learners.
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future
The case studies effectively illustrate the long standing nature of the environmental and social destruction taking place in first nations communities. Based on actions taken to date, the future vision presented for resolution and solutions to these problems is mixed.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.
The resource is structured to allow students to reach their own conclusions when identifying cases of environmental racism. Current, factual information is provided in the form of case studies along with a structured opportunity for analysis and exchange of perspectives amongst classmates.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The lesson design and content support outcomes in a range of subjects including environmental science, social studies/social justice and geography.
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The core questions are provided along with the case studies to be used by the students to arrive at their answers.
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The students access and analyze information through a number of sources including video, printed materials and discussion. The cooperative learning elements within the jigsaw design has the potential to provide peer support for learners of all abilities.
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The learning activities are not experiential.
Authentic learning experiences are provided
The jigsaw approach taken is well designed and supported.
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation
The discussion questions and recording charts that support the jigsaw activity provide opportunities for assessing student learning.
|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.
The expert and mixed group formats within the learning activity support the goals of peer teaching.
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The case studies provided in the lesson are current, highly relevant and a definite strength of the lesson design.
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
This criterion is not addressed..
|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.