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Marine ecosystems around the world are constantly under threat from illegal and unregulated commercial fishing. Overfishing results in declining fish populations, harm to vulnerable wildlife and reduced food and economic security in communities that depend on seafood. This lesson uses a hands-on model to demonstrate some of the causes and effects of depleted fish stocks. As students become "fishers" in their "oceans" they will develop an awareness of the complexities of natural resource conservation while achieving the following learning outcomes:
This lesson supports Grade 4-9 science learning about ocean ecosystems, human impacts on the environment and threats to marine species. The activity also explores sustainability concepts surrounding natural resource management, habitat loss and the the interrelationships between conservation, economics and human health. Although the resource was produced in California, it can be easily adapted to examine Canadian issues like the collapse of the Newfoundland Cod fishery or declining Atlantic and Pacific salmon populations.
Using this lesson in conjunction with World Oceans Day (June 8th) could provide an opportunity for students to implement an action project that informs local citizens about choosing sustainable seafood. In partnership with a local supermarket a class might set up an information booth that has examples of products with the internationally recognized Marine Stewardship Council. They could also adapt the “California Seafood Market” activity with plates featuring local seafood options. This public awareness activity can be broadcast on the school website and social media.
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|
Learners have an opportunity to explore how overfishing affects fish populations while considering the impacts on biodiversity, human health and ocean system function. As they generate creative solutions to this issue, students are encouraged to become involved global citizens who advocate for the environment.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
By examining the impacts of commercial fishing on ocean ecosystems students are able to build connections between sustainable consumption, environmental protection and economic security.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
As they analyze the link between advanced fishing methods and increased harvesting, pupils will understand that Earth's natural resources can be finite and that species loss results in ecosystem damage and food insecurity for the human populations that depend on fish as their primary protein source.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
In the “California Seafood Market” exercise students learn about selecting fish and shellfish that are sustainably harvested, why certain species should be avoided and how alternatives can provide similar eating experiences while expanding available choices. This encourages introspection about responsible consumerism and acting on the learning experience.
|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
The key question asks students to consider strategies for responding to the overfishing crisis which provides an opportunity for productive discussions about how they can positively impact the sustainability of our planet.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Learners develop an awareness of how many communities depend on fish and seafood as a direct source of nutrition and means of income and how large commercial fishing operations can jeopardize the health and well-being of these marine citizens.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
An outdoor experience is not part of this lesson but a teacher could strengthen student connections to ocean environments with a field trip to a local marine education centre or seaside habitat.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Although not a part of the learning activity, a follow-up suggestion is that students examine local fisheries and regulations which would make the lesson more personally relevant.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Declining marine species populations, pollution and climate change are all serious issues currently affecting our oceans. This lesson develops a positive approach to the future by empowering students to make responsible personal choices.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Guided questioning supports autonomous thinking related to the learning goals and provides a framework for independent inquiry.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although this lesson was developed to support Science learning about natural systems and human impacts on the environment, the content also explores world issues related to food security, economics and social responsibility in creating a sustainable future. Mathematics skills are used to collect and analyze the numerical information for the “fishing log”.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The problem solving approach encourages creativity as learners develop innovative solutions that might reduce the impacts of commercial fishing on fish populations, marine life and ocean ecosystems.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Poor/Not considered|
Although there are no specific adaptations for differentiation the hands-on approach will appeal to a wide range of learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The hands-on activitiy provides an opprtunity for students to model actual fish harveting and deepen their understanding of how human processes can influence and change ocean environments.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in small groups to conduct the activity and classroom discussions are used to describe information.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
There are no evaluation tools included in the lesson but formative assessment can occur when students review their fishing logs and describe their results.
|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.|
Students collaborate to analyze their data and describe how various fishing methods impact their harvest.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The lesson centres on an authentic problem solving task where students brainstorm potential solutions to a real world issue.
|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|
After students have learned about selecting sustainable seafood they are encouraged to practice their new skills by using “Seafood Watch” cards to examine menus from local restaurants and identify the best choices for fish meals. This supports independent decision making and creates informed community members who can educate others.
|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.|