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‘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.
The resource does not teach skills.
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|
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|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.
|Respects Complexity||Satisfactory||While 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 considered||Teachers 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
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||Satisfactory||While 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.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local 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.|
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|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.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Poor/Not considered||In one activity students are work in groups.|
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|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.
|Case Studies||Good||Case 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.|