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Students consider the ethics of human relationships with the environment. Specifically, they consider how practices such as the genetic modification of plants and animals involve a range of ethical positions towards non-human life.
Students work in groups to critique the approach to the environment of a number of selected organizations in terms of the organization's view of the relationship between human and the environment, the interests represented by the organization, and the power of the group to shape social policy.
The lesson is intended to help students become more practised in drilling down so as to identify the assumptions/values that shape the policies and practices of a given organization.
The strengths of the lesson include the following
The weaknesses of the lesson include the following
The lesson may be used in the following curriculum areas
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||Very Good|
The lesson is not content driven but process driven. The lesson is intended to help students assess organizations in terms of their approach to the environment, the interests they represent, their perspective on genetic modification, and the responsibilities they assign to humans in their relationships with the environment, particularly in relation to GMOs.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
In assessing the various organization's position on genetic modification, students are asked to investigate, discusss and report on a number of questions related to the environmental, economic, and social mind set of each of the organizations.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
One of the aims of the lesson is to have students recognize the assumptions, mind set, or world view of a given organization and to recognize how that perspective may shape the position and policies of the organization with respect to the relationship between humans and the environment.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The primary interest of the lesson plan is to enhance the student's ability to look behind an organization in order to identify the fundamental assumptions that guide that organization. The emphasis is on building those intellectual skills that will help students better judge the merits of a given organization in deciding whether to advocate for or take action on behalf of that organization.
|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
In examining the assumptions that selected organizations make about the relation between human and the environment students are identifying the values that guide those organizations. The subsequent class discussion provides an opportunity for the students to clarify their own values on on this critical issue.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
The lesson is concerned with how humans might use the power that science and technology has provided in modifying the natural world.
|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|
The students are asked to consider the ethics of human relations with the environment by considering how our ethical position to non-human life may influence our view of the genetic modification of plants and animals.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The debate surrounding the application of biotechnology is both global and local and we are all affected by the practices and policies adopted by organizations and legislators. While this lesson plan outline is generic in its approach to the issue, teachers may choose from any number of local or specifically relevant examples to illustrate the debate.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The lesson is intended to have students begin to consider the type of future offered by biotechnology and what might be their preferred future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are asked to evaluate a number of organizations with respect to their position on the ethics of human relationships with the environment. A number of questions are provided to guide that evaluation along with appropriate resources. The conclusions reached are those of the students.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The issue of the proper application of biotechnology is part of the larger topic of Science, Technology and the Environment found in most Science courses. This particular lesson plan helps students strengthen their language arts skills by having them assess the position of selected organizations on the issue of genetic modification by analyzing their particular websites. The lesson also has relevance for those social studies units that have students discuss probable and preferred futures.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Students are asked to assess selected organizations in terms of their assumptions about human relations with the environment. A number of open questions are provided to guide their inquiry and the website of each of the organizations is provided. The conclusions they reach are based on their own assessment and are shared with others in the class.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Students work in groups to assess the organization assigned. While the process involved in the assessment is undifferentiated, students may divide the work load according to their paricular strengths and interests.The sharing of the information gathered may also allow for different skill sets.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The debate surrounding the application of biotechnology is both current and relevant and one which the students should begin to consider. The lesson helps students to better participate in that debate by having them aquire the skills that will help them recognize the values/assumptions that are the basis for the positions taken by others in the debate.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students are arranged in groups and each group is assigned an organization that they are required to investigate in terms of its assumptions about human relations with the environment. It is left to each group to determine the division of tasks involved in the research and reporting.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
Teachers may capture formative information about student understanding of the issue addressed as they share their research and conclusions with their classmates.
|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 lesson is organized so that students work in groups to research and report on selected organizations. Students understanding of the larger issue of our relation with the environment will be enhanced by hearing the variety of perspectives presented as a result of the research of their classmates and from participating in the discussion that may follow.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The lesson adopts the case study approach in having students investigate the issue addressed. Students explore the values that shape our relationship with the environment by having them identify the assumptions that are the basis for the activities of a number of organizations that have an interest in the environment.
|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 lesson is structured so that students are asked to consider the larger question of our relation with the environment, provided with a set of guiding questions, and directed to relevant web resources to carry out their inquiry. Such structure is not necessarily an impediment to learning and teachers and student have a degree of autonomy in pursuing the complexity of the issue once raised.
|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.|