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The Impacts of Climate Change on Maple Trees

Middle

Description

In this lesson plan, students will have the opportunity to investigate the functions of the many structures present within the maple tree. They will also understand the relationship between sweet water harvesting and climate conditions.

During the first part of the lesson, students will listen to the book Sila and the Land. This is the story of a young Inuk girl who goes on a worldwide journey. Along the way, Sila meets different animals, plants and elements that teach her about the importance of the Land and her responsibilities to protect it for future generations. 

Following the reading, students will have a guided discussion about what they have understood and learned through Sila’s journey. The goal is to have students realize the importance of protecting our planet and how climate change can affect maple trees.

Once this is completed, students will watch multiple videos on maple sugar that will provide a general overview of the process of making maple syrup.

In the third section of the lesson, students will explore the structures of a maple tree and create a cross-sectional representation of a maple tree trunk. Students will then compare graphs to discover when the best time is to harvest maple syrup.

Students will end this lesson with a journal entry answering a few questions about their learning and the climate change on maple trees and the production of sweet water.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The lesson includes multiple resources to accompany the learning process.
  • The lesson is well explained and easy to understand.
  • Age appropriate and includes many different activities

Weaknesses

  • No evaluation rubrics are provided
  • No suggestions or ideas for an action project

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource supports curriculum outcomes related to plant growth and structure, climate change and ecological sustainability. Students will learn how climate change will have an affect on maple trees.  If possible, educators can tap maple trees with the class during the maple syrup harvesting season to enhance the learning experience.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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    • Grade 6
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        • Living Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions
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        • Science 7: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time
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        • Science 8: Climate Change
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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Ecological Footprint
  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Forests

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The bias is that humans need to learn about, appreciate and protect Maple Trees to ensure their future.

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

The dimensions are presented with a balanced emphasis on human activity when looking at climate change and how this can affect a variety of living things like maple trees.

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 Good

The videos provide a general overview of the process of making maple syrup from start (tree identification) to common practices for storing maple sugar. The series of videos shares how the Anishinaabeg learned about the sap of the maple tree and how to create maple syrup. Students learn and reflect on the consequences if Indigenous Peoples cannot practice collecting and processing maple sap each spring, based on what they learned in the video series.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

There is no indication for action opportunities in this lesson although it would be very easy to incorporate one as an extension lesson.

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

Students have the opportunity to discuss, reflect and clarify their actions when looking at climate change.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

Attention is given to what might happen if Indigenous Peoples are unable to practice collecting and processing maple sap each spring.

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 take a neighbourhood walk to explore what surrounds them in their region. 

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

Learning is relevant to their lives and has a local focus depending on the province or territory in which they are located.  

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
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 Satisfactory

The lessons utilize a combination of structured and guided investigation and discussions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

Some content from a number of different subject areas is readily identifiable but the is mainly focused on climate change and maple trees.

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 Satisfactory

Students are provided with questions to draw conclusions regarding the impact of climate change on maple trees and the production of maple syrup.

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
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 Satisfactory

There is some opportunity for students to work in groups but this will be dependent on the teacher.

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 Good

The lesson concludes with a journal entry that is guided by a number of open - ended questions. Student response to these questions will provide a measurement of student understanding and their position on the issue.

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

Discussion and sharing will take place during the lesson, but it is not to intentionally teach.

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

The videos share how the Anishinaabeg learned about the sap of the maple tree and how to create sweet water, maple syrup

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.