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Evolving Ecosystems

Secondary, Middle

Description

In Evolving Ecosystems, students will try to answer the big question: What actions can we take to protect ecosystems? To do this, they will watch an introductory video by youth host, Anisha, and Boris Worm on an expedition in the Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy. In the video, they conduct a deep-dive exploration into the eating habits of everything from microscopic crustaceans to gigantic North American Right Whales, and use cutting-edge science to explore every oceanic link which binds them.

Once students have watched the video, they will choose from three lines of inquiry, each with a focus question, media, and accompanying activities. The three lines of inquiry are:

Kriller Soup: What contributes to the health of a marine ecosystem?

  • Students will watch a short clip called Awesome soup where they will discover the Bay of Fundy which empties and fills every twelve hours. They will then be challenged to research and create a menu using the species and resources from the “awesome soup” found in the Bay of Fundy.
  • Students will then discover the story of the Grandmother’s cooking pot in which waters in Kluscap seem to bubble and boil, like a long-simmering cauldron filled with every good ingredient of life! Students will then be asked to create a legend based on a site, habitat, or natural phenomenon in their area.
  • Students will watch a short video on the near extinction of Right Whales in the Bay of Fundy and they will create a short timeline of “what went wrong” for right whales.
  • After discovering the Bay pf Fundy’s food chain, students will try to imagine what food they would eat if they had to eat the same thing everyday and then create a food chain from source to table for that food to compare to the food chain of a right whale.

Whale Hello There: How do changes in the environment affect the ecosystem for right whales?

  • Students will watch short clip and then be invited to reflect on the pros and cons of using photographs and bioacoustics data to study whales.
  • In a virtual simulation, students will will be able to look on or below the surface of the water. They will then write about their experience of diving with a whale and Boris.
  • After looking into a Right Whale, students will be challenged to create a 2D whale.

Changing Course: Why do the patterns and behaviours of marine life change?

  • Students will watch a short clip to discover that Right Whales seem to be abandoning the Bay of Fundy, and what is causing these creatures to change their zone. Students will then create a comic/graphic novel to illustrate the story or right whales searching for their favourite food.
  • Students will put on their VR headsets to become a copepod eating phytoplankton, but they have to be careful as there is always bigger fish out to eat them. They will then create a wanted poster for the predator that was released during the game.
  • Students will take a look at how Right Whales are forced out of the Bay of Fundy in order to find cooler waters so they can find food. Students are then asked to think about the closer of the snow crab and look at it from four different perspectives to form an opinion.

As a culminating activity, students are given a call to action. Students are encouraged to get outside, identify habitats that are threatened in the local area, investigate, and help to restore the habitat.

This resource is also accompanied by inquiry tools to explicitly target inquiry skills.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Dependent on which line of inquiry the students choose, they will learn a multitude of new skills. Students could learn how to create a legend, a food chain, a 2D whale using recycled materials, a comic/graphic novel, and a wanted poster. As well, this resource provided inquiry tools that can help explicitly teach inquiry skills.

Strengths

  • This lesson plan is extensive and provides teachers and students everything they need to complete the module
  • This resource gives students the option to decide which line of inquiry they want to choose out of three providing them with voice and choice.
  • This resource is accompanied with Inquiry tools to explicitly target inquiry skills. As well, each inquiry tool has an educator guide and lesson.
  • This resource can be linked to a Google Classroom or used as is.
  • There is a take action lesson that accompanies this module.
  • The lesson has students doing a multitude of different activities in different formats which lends itself well to different learning styles.
  • This resource is available in both official languages

Weaknesses

  • Students and teachers need to sign up to Ocean School in order to use this resource. This can be particularly tricky in jurisdictions with strict privacy acts.
  • Each piece of media comes with a customizable activity that educators can assign via Google Classroom or download to use in class.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource would be excellent to discuss marine environment, endangered species, and habitat loss in Science classrooms. The Ocean School experience begins by presenting learners with a big question — a challenge that guides their inquiry. Each piece of media comes with a customizable activity that educators can assign via Google Classroom or download to use in class. At the end of a module, learners develop a “Take Action” plan to address the critical social and environmental problems they’ve been learning about.

Ocean School empowers the next generation of ocean citizens, researchers, and innovators, with the knowledge and tools to investigate and design innovative solutions for the accelerating challenges that face the world’s ocean.

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.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Core
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Investigations
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biological Diversity
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 14:Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Weather Dynamics
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Science 1206: Weather Dynamics
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biological Diversity
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Ecology of the Land
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Resource Management and Population Dynamics
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
        • Science 14:Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Interactions Within Ecosystem
        • Science 7: Environmental Action
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Ocean Environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Science 10: Weather Dynamics
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
        • Interactions in Our Environment
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biological Diversity
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Ecology of the Land
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Resource Management and Population Dynamics
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 14: Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Patterns in a Changing World
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions in the Environment
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Interactions in the Physical Environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Applied)::Earth and Space Science: Earth's Dynamic Climate
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: Content Knowledge
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 431A: Life Science, Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
    • Grade 8
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Applied Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Earth and Space
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
        • Science & Technology: The Earth and Space
        • Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Science and the Environment: The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Endangered Species
    • Habitat Loss
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Fisheries
    • Habitat Restoration
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The multitude of activities in this resource provide students with a complete view of the issue. Students can then form their own opinion and take an informed position on the subject. 

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 Very Good

In this resource, students look at the different dimensions of evolving ecosystems, more specifically the Right Whales and how it is affecting different stakeholders. 

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 Very Good

The resource contributes solutions to complex problems. Students examine the complexities of protecting evolving ecosystems by examining how the changes in the environment affect the marine ecosystem.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

A take action lesson accompanies this module where students are asked to get outside, identify habitats that are threatened in the local area, investigate, and help to restore the habitat. The Take Action is the culminating activity of the module. Students are asked to reflect about what they’ve learned and how they can put their learning into action. This activity is designed to support sustained inquiry, leadership and collaboration.

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 Very Good

Students’ opinions and beliefs are at the center of this resource. Students have many opportunities to express themselves and there is no right answer. 

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

Students will take a look at the marine environment and therefore foster an appreciation and concern for the natural world. However, all activities are completed inside the classroom via videos and simulations. 

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

Activities in this resource are centered around the Bay of Fundy, making it relevant to our Canadian 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 Very Good
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

As an inquiry-based learning platform, Ocean School is designed to allow students to choose their own path according to their groups decisions. Also, each path has a multitude of opinion questions and students get to share their ideas. 

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
  • Environmental Science
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 Very Good

Inquiry based learning encourages students to take the lead in their learning experience. Posing their own questions and gathering evidence, learners practice the skills they need to participate in knowledge creation. On the Ocean School platform, the media experiences are designed to support open-ended investigations into a question or a problem. Students and educators share responsibility for identifying problems that students can investigate further. Together, they engage in critical thinking, collection and analysis of evidence, logical reasoning, and creative problem-solving.

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

This resource has a multitude of different activities for students to complete and therefore addresses well the needs of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. However, strategies for learners with difficulties are not provided. 

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 Good

This resource includes multiple simulations and videos that bring a real-world context. One of the activities has students create a fort and/or survival plan of what they would need to survive. They can only take from the earth and land and must consider factors like season, weather and local habitat and ecosystem. The resource strongly encourages educators to take their students outside during this activity.

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 Good

Some of the suggested activities involve group work.

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 Very Good

The resource offers suggests four types of assessment.

  • Observing students and engaging them in conversations
  • Each time a group or individual completes a piece of media, an assignment or reflection is automatically generated in their Google Drive
  • Ocean School encourages both educators and students to engage in the learning and assessment process. In the resource, you will find modifiable self-assessment forms for peer and self-assessment that you can use with your students.
  • Take Action - The Take Action plan is designed to extend and sustain inquiry.
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

This is not a focus of this resource.

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

This resource follows Anisha and Boris Worm on an expedition in Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy. Students will look into the eating habits of everything from microscopic crustaceans to gigantic North American Right Whales. 

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 Very Good

In this resource, students will get to choose their own learning path and questions to answer. 

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.