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Survival

Keepers of the Animals - Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children

Elementary, Secondary

Description

This resource is part of a compilation entitled Keepers of the Animals which provides an integrated approach to the concepts of wildlife ecology and environmental and stewardship issues concerning animals, habitat, and natural history. Through the use of Native North American stories and hands-on activities integrated with subject areas such as creative arts, theater, science, social studies, mathematics, students learn to understand, live with and care for the animals. 

Survival is a collection of animal stories from a variety of Native American traditions.  Each story provides background information about the legend, information about the animals highlighted in the story, discussion questions and a variety of hands-on activities designed to give students a clearer understanding of the natural history facts or processes described in the story. Each activity provides goals, detailed teaching instructions and a list of required materials. A section entitled Extending the Experience provides a variety of activities to reinforce and supplement the lessons of the stories and activities. 

How The Fawn Got its Spots and The Alligator and the Hunter explore the topics of predator and prey and survival adaptations. Students solve some riddles that describe the survival adaptations of some prey animals, look for animal tracks and other signs of animals, learn and practice some of the skills needed to stalk and observe wild animals, listen to two stories describing the plight of both the predator and prey and choose how they would like the story to end. 

The Gift of the Whale looks closely at whales and other marine mammals. Students create models of marine animals and their environment, play a simulation echo-location game to find their way through an obstacle course blindfolded, make a colouring book with different kinds of marine animals, play a game which helps them understand the importance of sustainability of a population and conduct a role-playing exercise to help them understand the various stands people take for and against hunting.       

The Passing of the Buffalo examines issues of wildlife management, animal populations, causes of endangerment and extinction of certain species and species recovery. Students play a passing game to experience the life of a peregrine falcon and understand how it has survived some serious threats, create an illustration of a favourite endangered species and its habitat, create a list of the threats of their favourite species, play a game with cards and beans to simulate the natural increases and decreases of an animal population and discuss ways to get involved to help save an endangered species.    

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • How to search and identify animal tracks
  • Acquire skills in observing and keeping field records of animal sightings.
  • Learn and practice the skills required to stalk and observe animals. 

Strengths

  • Good variety of creative, hands-on, outdoor activities.
  • Excellent background information provided as a resource for teachers.
  • Each lesson plan includes a description of the activity, goals, materials needed and detailed teaching instructions.
  • The lesson plans are easy-to-use.
  • Includes many extending the experience activities.
  • Activities include an easy to use symbols system that provides a quick reference to both the setting and the topics of that activity. 
  • A good variety of suggestions for action projects

Weaknesses

  • The resource is dated and has no website links to animal organizations' websites
  • No assessment/rubrics are provided.
  • Few opportunities for students to share what they have learned with their parents or peers.
  • Needs to include guest speakers and different points of view.

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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (5)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Carrying Capacity
    • Endangered Species
    • Wildlife Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory
  • In the Passing of the Buffalo the cause of the destruction of the herds of American bison is from the author's point of view only which will skew the opinion of the reader.
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
  • ecological
  • ethical
  • environmental
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 Poor/Not considered
  • Not considered in this resource.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good
  • Appropriate action suggestions for protecting local populations of marine mammals such as the gray seal and whales.
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
  • In some of the activities, students are given an opportunity to reflect upon their attitudes and values towards animals and their habitats. Students are encouraged to get involved in action projects to ensure the survival of marine mammals, threatened and endangered.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
  • The relationship between the Inuit and the whales teach the students the difference between traditional hunting to fulfill a need and contemporary hunting to fulfill a want.
  • The resource uses native wisdom to help young people learn to appreciate the great richness of the gifts animals give to people.
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
  • The Passing of the Buffalo and The Gift of the Whale stories require some outdoor activites.
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 resource facilitates discovery of the animals and their habitats and the influence students have on those environments.
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
  • The resource introduces its theme using a Native North American story. The book provides a map of native North America showing cultural areas and tribal locations as they appeared around 1600.
  • The resource suggests action projects students can take part in to help in the recovery of endangered species.
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 activites in this resource encourage the students to brainstorm, question, discuss, observe, interview, research, work cooperatively and reflect.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Art
  • Social Studies
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
  • Some of the activities facilitate inquiry-based learning.
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 experiences can be found in many of the tasks and in the Extending the Experience activites.
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
  • Students occasionally 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
  • Some reflection opportunities are suggested.
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
  • Some opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge if teachers provide the opportunities.
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
  • Some case studies are 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 Good
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.