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This four-part digital activity guide is intended to be used by secondary teachers to explore pollution release in Canada as well as to highlight the uses of The National Pollutant Release Inventory. The NPRI is a registry managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) that keeps annual records of quantities of over 300 pollutants released to air, water and land, and disposed of and/or transferred by Canadian commercial and institutional facilities that meet certain criteria. This activity guide is intended to explore pollution release in Canada as well as to highlight the uses and limits of such a database.
Part 1 – Pollutant Destinies - Students will explore how various pollutant “destinies” (release, disposal, transfer) vary based on the facility releasing them
Part 2 – From Local to National – A Picture of Pollutant Release in Canada – Students delve into the NPRI data to explore the distribution of pollutant release in Canada over time
Part 3 – Social, Political and Economic Factors – Students explore various social, political and economic factors that may play a role in determining a company’s choice of location for their facilities
Part 4 – Careers Within the NPRI Team of ECCC – This section deals with careers within the NPRI team at Environment and Climate Change Canada
To support teachers and students through this learning experience, this activity kit includes:
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|
Students delve into NPRI data to explore the distribution of pollutant release in Canada over time. Students discover the type of information that can be extracted from the NPRI data, as well as some of its limitations. Students discover what is happening across Canada regarding the distribution of pollution/waste-producing facilities by location and sector. They identify factors that influence the amount of pollutants being reported over time. UsIng the data, students search for problem areas in their communites and if the NPRI provides the necessary information to enable them to make that conclusion.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
Students explore various social, political and economic factors that may play a role in determining a company’s choice of location for their facilities. Students also explore potential political implications of pollutant release both in Canada and beyond. Students learn how, why and who are releasing pollutants into our air, land and water. They also discover which facilities are releasing pollutants in their community and nearby.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) is a registry managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) that keeps annual records of quantities of over 300 pollutants released to air, water and land, and disposed of and/or transferred by Canadian commercial and institutional facilities that meet certain criteria. This guide is intended to be used to explore pollution release in Canada as well as to highlight the uses and limits of such a database. Students identify factors that influence the amount of pollutants being reported over time and how events or changes at facilities can alter facility data values.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Actions opportunities are included as extension activities.
Students manipulate the NPRI Dashboard to discover the variety of paths a pollutant can take depending on what type of facility is releasing it. Their task is to compare and contrast three sectors with regards to the release of a chosen pollutant and brainstorm questions from the perspectives of both a geographer and a scientist. Students could present their work, including environmental/health risks and threshold information for the selected pollutant of interest; or enter into a mock NPRI consultative process to convince the class to increase or diminish the threshold of their substance by referring to their research as justification. These are presented as extension activities.
The resource does suggest a mentoring opportunity for older students to collaborate on current environmental topics and issues of concern. The challenge provides real work experience by encouraging students to conduct their own analysis, while also facilitating networking with environmental professionals. The follow-through to implementation is not part of the resource.
|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
There are a few discussion opportunities and an extension activity in which students use the data (company, year, substance spilled) to help them find an article that would further their understanding of exactly what happened to provoke this event and whether or not there were consequences (impact on environment, fines, was a clean-up needed, etc.). This activity would allow students to express their values or beliefs.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
Not considered in this resource
|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 learn about the many pollutants released in our environment and how it may affect their community. Discussion opportunities raise awareness of the pollutant’s effects on the environment. However, all activities take place in the classroom.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Students learn about the many pollutants released across Canada and how pollutants may affect their community once they leave a facility.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The NPRI dashboard allows students to visualize yearly data and explore the facility’s pollutant release history over the past 10 years. Facilities are encouraged to comment on why amounts changed from one year to the next, this is completely voluntary, making it difficult to establish trends from year to year.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The resource provides information regarding pollutants in the environment and asks students to examine the NPRI data. Students make comparisons as to what types of facilities are producing the pollutants and who is releasing pollutants in the community. In one of the activities students manipulate the NPRI Dashboard to discover the variety of paths a pollutant can take depending on what type of facility is releasing it. Their task is to compare and contrast three sectors with regards to the release of a chosen pollutant and brainstorm questions from the perspectives of both a geographer and a scientist.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The resource has students explore pollution release in Canada and highlights the uses and limits of such a database. Students are provided with some questions and problems to solve.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Poor/Not considered|
The activities in this resource makes it a good fit for visual learners. There are no strategies for learners with difficulties.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students navigate a NPRI student dashboard, a simplification of the NPRI Data Search tool to explore the distribution of pollutant release in Canada over time.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Some of the activites suggest students work in groups.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Assessment tools are not provided in this resource.
|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.|
Some extension activities suggest students present their work, including environmental/health risks and threshold information for the selected pollutant of interest; OR Enter into a mock NPRI consultative process to convince the class to increase or diminish the threshold of their substance by referring to their research as justification
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Students delve into NPRI data to explore the distribution of pollutant release in Canada over time.
|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|
One activity suggests students find a pollutant that was discovered to have human and/or environmental health impacts after we started using it.
|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.|