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Fish and Kids

Elementary

Description

This resource is designed to teach students how to make informed decisions when selecting their favourite seafood.  The lessons take a balanced approach to the topic of sustainable harvest by examining vital ecosystem links, by-catch issues and how fishermen and conservationists can work together to protect ocean resources.  Each lesson contains a resource card with activities and discussion points that will enable students to meet the following learning objectives:

  • Describe a food chain and identify a producer, consumer, predator and prey.
  • Describe the vital role of oceans in providing food for humans.
  • Identify negative human impacts on ocean ecosystems.
  • Identify an eco-label and the role of responsible consumer choices in fish conservation.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Building food chains and food webs
  • Reading & understanding food labels
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Environmental stewardship

Strengths

  • Creates many opportunities for open ended discussions.
  • Teaches students how to make informed consumer choices.
  • Includes two versions of each exercise adapted for younger (Grade2-3) and older (Grade 4-5) students.
  • Supported by a website www.fishandkids.org that has games and ideas for additional activities.

Weaknesses

  • Lacks information about ocean habitats which would support the food chain and food web activity.
  • No rubrics for assessment of written exercises.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource makes an excellent introduction to World Oceans Day and supports science and social studies units that explore ecosystems, habitats and human impacts on the environment.  There is also an opportunity to integrate outcomes related to healthy eating as students learn about food labels and the benefits of including fish in their diet.  An action project could have a class visit a local supermarket to research the supply of sustainable fish products.  This data could become the basis of a student produced flyer that encourages shoppers to choose fish that is harvested responsibly.

As students learn about the impact of by-catch and ocean pollution on animals like sea turtles they will likely be motivated to help.   A class could conduct a beach clean-up and use the trash inventory to educate the local community about pollution impacts.  Other projects could have students organizing "plastic free"  school lunches or preparing a school district request asking officials to remove bottled water from cafeterias.

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Endangered Species
    • Habitat Loss
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource highlights the importance of marine stewardship in an age-appropriate context that guides students from understanding how food webs are impacted by species removal to realizing they can become active participants in sustainable food choices.

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

Overfishing and pollution are two of the most serious factors affecting ocean environments and the resulting reduced food supply could have catastrophic human consequences.  A teacher could explore the relationship between fish stocks and world health by having students research the Canadian connections to the fishing industry.

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 Good

One of the strengths of this resource is the progressive building on prior knowledge to gain a clear understanding of all of the issues surrounding ocean fishing.  The holistic approach provides students with many opportunities to question and discuss topics.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Although no specific action project is associated with the learning unit the positive approach to wise consumer choices means students will realize they can be part of a larger global movement towards sustainably sourced food.

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

This resource provides students with a valuable opportunity to reflect on the importance of marine environments from an environmental and social perspective.  They are also empowered to become informed consumers. 

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

There is a clear message in this unit that most fishermen are responsible, hardworking and ethical.  This is an important concept for students since they will gain respect for these individuals and realize that the resource harvester can also play an integral role in resource conservation.

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 Satisfactory

Although the lessons are classroom based some of the images like a sea turtle caught in a fishing net will foster an emotional connection to sea life.  The lessons could also be used to enrich a  field trip to an aquarium or local marine ecosystem by increasing student awareness of the value of marine species.

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

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international organization that includes Canada as a member.  This teaching unit will be especially significant to coastal communities who have been affected by declining fish stocks.  However, the learning experience is relevant in all provinces since fish is an important food source for most Canadians.

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 Poor/Not considered

Although not specifically addressed in this resource a teacher could add this type of content to the lessons by providing information on the collapse of the cod fishery www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/pcsinpower/cod_collapse.htm

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 Good

The lessons provide may opportunities for questioning and debate.  Creative activities that involve designing an ecolabel, and making an underwater collage also promote free expression and focused reflection.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This resource supports science outcomes related to ecosystems and food webs while addressing social studies connections to sustainability.  The "Ecolabels" and "Fish as Food" activities also contain important curriculum connections to healthy eating and reading nutrition labels.

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 Satisfactory
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 Poor/Not considered

There are no differentiation strategies but the website that supports this resource contains games that provide alternate learning opportunities.

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 Satisfactory

Although most of the activities involve simulation students do examine food packaging brought from home to discover nutritional content and identify sustainable products.   This authentic experience is made more meaningful since it  translates to an important skill that students can use in their daily lives.

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 Poor/Not considered

The lessons primarily occur as a whole class although in the "Fish as Food" and "Ecolabels" activities there is an opportunity for 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 Satisfactory

Each lesson includes reflection questions that a teacher can use as the basis of a group discussion or individually to collect formative assessment information.  Worksheets also provide formative data on student understanding.  There are some suggestions for written assignments however no rubrics are provided to support summative assessment of the 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.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

Peer debate and presentations are used to discuss viewpoints.  The underwater collages that students create could be part of a school display that promotes healthy oceans.

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 Satisfactory

Marine pollution and over-fishing are very timely and relevant environmental topics.   Students will relate to marine species like dolphins and sea turtles and will often recognize traditional fishing methods like handlining described in short case studies.   The opportunity to examine their families food purchases also makes the learning very meaningful.

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

These activities are teacher directed but the increased awareness of this complex real-world issue will likely engage many students in further information seeking about ocean environments.

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.