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The Fire of Creation

Episode 3: Gr 11/12

Secondary

Description

‘Fire of Creation’ is the title of the third of four episodes in David Suzuki’s television series The Sacred Balance now available to teachers on DVD or VHS.  This resource, The Grade 11-12 Teacher’s Guide to Episode 3, Fire of Creation serves as a curriculum document to help teachers incorporate key ideas from episode three into the senior high science classroom. 

The guide is organized into ‘pre’, ‘during’, and ‘post’- viewing activities that explore the interconnectedness of life on earth by examining our understanding of sustainability and its prominence in the culture of indigenous people.   Student activities are organized around a number of contributing themes that include energy and life, fire and life, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.  The guide also provides a number of on-line articles, one game and two simulations for students to use in completing the activities.   

Before Viewing-   After examining resources selected by the teacher in preparation for viewing episode three, students use the information to complete a word scramble exercise and answer a series of questions dealing with the concept of biodiversity.  Students can also participate in the Climate Change Casino game to explore gambling as a metaphor for how humans are balancing economic gain with the future sustainability of the planet. 

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 answer a series of questions designed to continue the discussion of role played by fire in human culture and nature.   Students also focus on the concept of sustainability by researching the boom and bust history of resource depletion on Easter Island, summarizing the hard lessons learned by the early Aborigines, and expressing personal reactions to the episode’s description of humans as ‘future eaters’.   Other post-viewing activities include a creative writing assignment based on the carbon cycle, seeking consensus on a definition of sustainability and researching the potential impact of biotechnology on sustainable agriculture. 

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 supplementary activities and sources of information and to The Nature Challenge action project. 

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.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The resource does not teach skills.

Strengths

  • The question exercises provide students with opportunities to articulate their own views and feelings on the themes raised.
  • The activities are based on the dvd/vhs presentation that students will find very interesting and entertaining.
  • The resource does an excellent job in demonstrating the interconnectedness of living and nonliving things.
  • The resource demonstrates the value of aboriginal perspectives.
  • The resource is easy to use by both students and teachers.
  • The resource provides students with challenging questions and includes answer keys for the teacher.

Weaknesses

  • The social and economic dimensions of the themes discussed need to be more deliberately addressed.
  • The action experience component needs to be supported and connected to the activities.
  • Some of the post discussion questions are not easily connected to the others.
  • The activities do not teach skills.
  • The activities do not include out-of-doors experience.
  • There is little attention paid to cooperative, experiential or authentic learning.
  • The student learning is primarily passive.
  • Little attention is paid to assessment.
  • The simulations provided are not particularly effective.
  • The on-line video clips from the episode are no longer available
  • The cost of the dvd/vhs is approximately $90.00
  • The Sacred Balance Website is highly commercialized

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.

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  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20:Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Living sustainably supports the well-being of self, community, and Earth.
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • B.C. First Peoples: The identities, worldviews, and languages of B.C. First Peoples are renewed, sustained, and transformed through their connection to the land
        • Comparative Cultures 12: Understanding the diversity and complexity of cultural expressions in one culture enhances our understanding of other cultures.
        • Contemporary Indigenous Studies: The identities, worldviews, and languages of indigenous peoples are renewed, sustained, and transformed through their connection to the land.
  • Manitoba
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Environment
        • Citizenship and Sustainability:Area of Inquiry: Indigenous Peoples
        • Global Issues
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 11
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      • Biology
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        • Biology 11: Biodiversity
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Advanced Environmental Science 120: Earth Systems
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Sustainable Development
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
    • Grade 11
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      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 2201: Ecosystem Interactions and Population Dynamics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2200: Ecosytems
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 3205: Introduction to Environmental Science
      • Geography
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        • World Geography 3200/3202: Ecosystems
      • Religious Education
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        • World Religions 3101/3106: Overall Expectations
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20:Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
    • Grade 11
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      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11: Interactions among Living Things
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 11
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      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • :Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
    • Grade 12
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep) : Ecological Systems: Interactions and Interdependence
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
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        • Science 431A: Life Science, Sustainability of Ecosystems
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      • Biology
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        • Biology 521A: Maintaing Dynamic Equilibrium
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Ecological Principles
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 10
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        • Applied Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
        • Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Science and the Environment: The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studiees 20:World Issues - Environment
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Living sustainably supports the well-being of self, community, and Earth.
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • B.C. First Peoples: The identities, worldviews, and languages of B.C. First Peoples are renewed, sustained, and transformed through their connection to the land
        • Comparative Cultures 12: Understanding the diversity and complexity of cultural expressions in one culture enhances our understanding of other cultures.
        • Contemporary Indigenous Studies: The identities, worldviews, and languages of indigenous peoples are renewed, sustained, and transformed through their connection to the land.

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Biodiversity
    • Interdependence
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • Presents the contributions made by both scientific and traditional knowledge.
  • Encourages students to express their own values and opinions.
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

Themes including biodiversity, sustainable development, fire ecology offer teachers and students excellent opportunities to examine the different dimensions.  However, little structure or direction to ensure this discussion takes place is provided in the activities.

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 SatisfactoryWhile the learning in this unit is more passive than active, the articles and interviews with scientists help students appreciate the problem-solving nature of scientific inquiry and the complexity that characterizes our natural world.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not consideredTeachers are  encouraged to direct students to action by participating in David Suzuki's Nature Challenge found on the Sacred Balance Website.  No effort is made to support this action experience or to link its outcomes to the core activities.
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 Good

The question exercises do a very good job in encouraging students to express their own beliefs and in requiring them to relate what they have learned to their own values and experience.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The resource does a good job in fostering respect for the traditional knowledge and world views contributed by aboriginal peoples and cultures from around the world.

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 SatisfactoryWhile there is no provision for out-of-doors experience the central theme of the interconnectedness of all components of nature is very effectively presented. 
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 Satisfactory
  • All of the case studies and research examined in this resource are based outside of Canada.
  • Only a small amount of the learning takes place through direct experience.
  • The frequent opportunities students have to react to the information provided helps make the learning relevant.
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 does a good job in linking present circumstances to past natural and human-caused events.
  • Students are left to find their own signs of optimism for the future based largely on our ability to learn from other cultures and from mistakes made in the past.
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
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
  • The overriding theme of interconnectedness lends itself well to a systems-thinking approach.
  • Students are encouraged to explore and articulate the metaphors and parables found within the specific issues introduced in this resource.
  • The activities incorporate methods and concepts from science, social studies, language arts and geography.
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 Poor/Not considered

The majority of the learning of new concepts and principles is passive.

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 Satisfactory
  • The dvd/vhs presentation provides lots of sensory stimulation.
  • The activities include creative writing opportunities.
  • The questions will challenge students of different abilities.
  • The activities involve students in reading, comprehending, analyzing, synthesizing and articulating.
  • 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 Poor/Not considered
    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 Poor/Not consideredIn one activity students are 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 Poor/Not considered

    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.

    • 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 GoodCase studies and current research and practice are prominent features of this resource.
    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.