Search for Resources

Plants & Animals

Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children

Elementary, Middle

Description

This chapter is part of a larger compilation, "Keepers of the Earth", which is designed to increase students understanding of nature, and the uniqueness of plants and animals.  An understanding of the interconnectedness of all things in nature is fostered among students.

Within this chapter students will:

  • create their own classroom garden, either indoors or outdoors.
  • utilize oral legends as a way of beginning to understand nature and tradition.
  • visit a woodlot to study decomposition.
  • play a variety of games to develop understanding of key concepts.
  • utilize photography as a way of understanding plant succession.
  • create models of birds and imitate migration paths.
  • observe insects pollinating flowers, and imitate the pollination process using a toothbrush.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches:

  • the parts of a tree
  • the parts of an insect
  • the cycle of decomposition
  • animal adaptations
  • animal migration/hibernation
  • how to understand environmental change as a natural process
  • the process of pollen transfer

Strengths

  • There is a good quantity of quality background information provided for teachers.
  • The resource is well organized with clear goals and outcomes.
  • The activities within the chapter meet the needs of a variety of students with varied learning needs and styles, as well as adapting activities for students of various ages.
  • Activities encourage empathy towards non-humans as many activities revolve around non-humans and take place out of doors.
  • Students are able to further investigate various issues that are presented through research and observation.
  • Multiple ways of linking activities across curricular areas are provided.
  • Aboriginal legends are provided for each new component of the chapter.
  • Compilation is published on 50% post consumer recycled paper.

Weaknesses

  • Although the resource provides a wealth of information on a variety of topics, multiple problems systems thinking approach is not taken during activities.
  • Amount of input into lesson components from students is limited, as most activities are teacher directed.
  • Opportunities for assessment are not provided for students or teachers.
  • Students do not take part in authentic action projects relating to the issues.
  • Resource is slightly dated, and does not have any additional web resources or links.
  • Students are not taught cooperative learning skills although they do work in groups.

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 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend & Respond
        • Enhance the clarity and artistry of communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
        • Investigating matter and energy facilitates understandings of natural phenomena and can inspire discovery and innovation.
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend & Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Wetland Ecosystems
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
        • Manage Ideas and Information
        • Oral Language: Listening and speaking form the foundation for literacy development and improve communication, collaboration, and respectful mutual understanding.
        • Writing: Ideas and information can be articulated accurately and imaginatively through the use of writing processes and an understanding of the author’s craft
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Trees and Forests
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Education and Health: Personal and Social Management
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Changes in Plants
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Education and Health: Personal and Social Management
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitat and Communities
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Education and Health: Personal and Social Management
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Properties of and Changes in Substances
        • Weather
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Living Things
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Speaking & Listening
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3.Our Local Environment: Science Technology Society and Environment (STSE)
        • Science 3: Our Local Environment:Scientific Literacy
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provincial Identity: Place
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Creating, Making, and Connecting
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Personal Wellness: Career Development
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies: Exploring our World
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Materials & Techniques
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
    • Grade 6
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Creating, Making, and Presenting
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring Soils
        • Plant Growth & Changes
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Art: Connecting Contexts of Time, Place, and Community
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Environmental Health
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Creating, Making, and Presenting
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Environmental Health
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking & Listening
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Environmental Health
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Develop and Celebrate Community
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Encourage, Support, and Work with Others
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education 4: Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Develop and Celebrate Community
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts:Visual Art
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Develop and Celebrate Community
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Develop and Celebrate Community
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Celebrate and Build Community
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Enhance Clarity and Artistry of Communication
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Language: Oral Communication
        • Language: Reading
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth and Space Systems: Soils in the Environment
        • Life Systems: Growth & Changes in Plants
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Language: Oral Communication
        • Language: Reading
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Habitats and Communities
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Language: Oral Communication
        • Language: Reading
    • Grade 6
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Speaking and Listening
        • Writing and Other Ways of Representing
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Speaking and Listening
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Some Elements of Culture
      • Visual Art
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Visual Arts: Creating and Presenting
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce individual works in the visual arts
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce media works in the visual arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living Things
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce media works in the visual arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living Things
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce media works in the visual arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living Things
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts: Visual Arts: To produce media works in the visual arts
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
        • To represent her/his literacy in different media
        • To use Language to communicate and learn
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living Things
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Assess and Reflect
        • Compose and Create
        • Comprehend and Respond
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Plant Growth and Changes
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Community Comparisons: Dynamic Comparisons
        • Community Comparisons: Power and Authority
        • Community Comparisons: Resources and Welath
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education 4: Cultural/Historical
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Compose and Create
        • Comprehend and Respond
      • Physical Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Education 4: Relationships
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Saskatchewan: Interactions and Interdependence
        • Saskatchewan: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Compose and Create
        • Comprehend and Respond
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada: Dynamic Relations
        • Canada: Interaction and Interdependence of Nations
        • Canada: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Life Science: Diversity of Living Things
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Endangered Species
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
  • Food & Agriculture (5)

    • Animal Rights
    • Conventional Farming
    • Organic Farming
    • Pesticides
    • Subsistence Farming
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • Although students are not provided with a variety of different viewpoints in all areas addressed within this chapter, many of the activities revolve around students researching different points of view to share with others.  For example, students are expected to visit and research different types of farming.
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 Satisfactory
  • Aspect of problem solving is not adequately addressed within this chapter.
  • Although students are given ample opportunities for acquiring information they are not always provided with or encouraged to investigate multiple dimensions of problems and solutions.
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 Satisfactory
  • Complexity of problems is not always respected.
  • Focus within this chapter is acquiring knowledge in a variety of different areas, and not focusing on the complexity of one specific issue.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
  • Action experiences for students are limited within this chapter.
  • Students acquire knowledge and experience knowledge firsthand in many areas, but do not go one step further by attempting to develop authentic action projects.
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 Satisfactory
  • Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values in all issues presented within this chapter, but do have the opportunity to research different methods of farming, and debate the pros and cons. 
  • Students are encouraged to develop their own values as they develop an understanding of things in nature as they experience them first hand.
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
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
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 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 Satisfactory
  • Many of the lessons are very teacher directed, but students do have the opportunity to explore and research a variety of concepts on their own.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
  • Many opportunities to extend learning to multiple curricular areas.
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 Good
  • Many of the lessons are very teacher directed, but students have the opportunity to experience things on their own through research, observation, and much time spent in the natural habitat.
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
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
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 Satisfactory
  • Cooperative learning strategies are not explicitly taught, but students do often work in groups.
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
  • Students actively demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
  • Assessment practises are not provided for students or teachers.
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 Satisfactory
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
  • Although a lot of information and short examples are provided, there are few lengthier case studies provided.
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
  • Activities within this chapter are largely teacher directed.
  • Students do have some opportunity to create things using their imaginations and knowledge and are not guided by exact models or instruction.
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.