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‘The Matrix of Life’ is the title of the second 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 2, The Matrix of Life serves as a curriculum document to help teachers incorporate key ideas from episode two into the senior high science classroom. The guide is organized into ‘pre’, ‘during’, and ‘post- viewing activities that explore life’s intimate relationship with air and waterand a number of supporting themes that include human impact on the Ganges River, the mystery of water, origins of the atmosphere, rain forests and the water cycle, and balancing science and spirituality. The guide also provides a number of on-line articles, games and simulations that students can review in preparation for viewing the episode and completing the activities.
Before Viewing- After examining on-line resources selected by the teacher relating to water, students complete a matching exercise on water chemistry and a concept mapping activity in which they connect water to science, technology, society and the environment.
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 read on-line articles relating to the research and world views of the speakers featured in the episode and express their perspective on life’s connection to water and air by answering a number of questions. 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 related sites and sources of information.
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|
|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 understand the problem-solving nature of scientific inquiry and the complexity of what appear to be simple things we take for granted.|
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|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
Some of the questions provided with the activities require students to articulate their opinions on what the key questions are that scientists should be examining.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good||The activities and supporting articles introduce students to the contributions made by spirituality in general and the Hindu perspective in particular.|
|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 the activities do not provide for out-of-doors experience, the guide does effectively support the theme of interconnectedness among all things both living and non-living. The 'Postcards from Argon' activity provides students with a very concrete example of this relationship.|
|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||Very Good|
Students are made very aware of the continuity of life from its very origin.
|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||Satisfactory||While science is the main context for this unit, it does incorporate strands from social studies and geography.|
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Satisfactory||Much of the learning is passive. Some elements of inquiry are introduced with the simulation activities.|
|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: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
|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.
The activities do not directly involve students in specific case studies. However much of the material that students are given to read and reflect upon describes real events and current research.
|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.|