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‘Journey into New Worlds’ is the title of the first of four episodes in David Suzuki’s television series The Sacred Balance now available to teachers on DVD or VHS.
The resource, The Grade 11-12 Teacher’s Guide to Episode 1, Journey into New Worlds serves as a curriculum document to help teachers incorporate key ideas from episode one into the senior high science classroom. The guide is organized into ‘pre’, ‘during’, and ‘post- viewing activities that explore the interconnectedness of life and a number of supporting themes that include human impact on the earth, science and traditional knowledge, spiritual and scientific world views, chaos, ecology, the human genome project and the Gaia Hypothesis.
Before Viewing- Students view an on-line simulation to examine the structure of DNA and use the information gained to complete a crossword puzzle. Students then review articles introducing the scientists featured in the episode and explain how the views of these individuals support the central theme of interconnectedness. In the final pre-viewing activity students are presented with different perspectives on the future and asked to identify which one most closely mirrors their own outlook. They then analyze how their views might impact on specific environmental problems such as climate change, acid rain and declining biodiversity.
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- Students participate in a range of learning activities that highlight the key issues and themes presented in the Journey into New Worlds episode. These activities include constructing a timeline to highlight key events in the history of DNA, reading articles and viewing simulations that demonstrate the nature and contributions of science, drawing Venn diagrams to compare scientific and spiritual knowledge, answering questions to explore values and viewpoints on humanity’s place in nature and writing a short story to articulate a personal vision for the future of our planet.
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 related sites 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.
Students receive some direction and practice in creative/short story writing.
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||Good|
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The resource deals with some of the moral, ethical and environmental dimensions of science, technology and society.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Satisfactory||While the learning in this unit is more passive than active, students are made aware of the complexity of the issues/problems discussed.|
|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||Satisfactory|
|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||Very Good|
|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.
While science is the main context for this unit, it does incorporate strands from social studies and language arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Based on the information provided by the film, the activities and from additional research, students develop their own perspectives on past and present human practice as well as a personal view for the future.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
While the activities present a variety of different ways for students to demonstrate what they have learned, the resource pays little attention to the subject of assessment.
|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 directly involve students in specific case studies. However much of the material that students are given to read and reflect upon describes 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.|