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Turning Over a New Leaf

Secondary

Description

Students are introduced to forest biotechnology through preliminary activities involving brainstorming about key issues.  Then students explore the importance of forest biotechnology and the role of the Canadian Forest Service in conducting research on this topic.

After this introduction, students, working together, are asked to generate criteria i.e. social, environmental, financial that could be used to evaluate or assess biotechnology (research) activities. The evaluation criteria are used to decide about allocating research funds in the simulation that follows.

Using a wonderful simulation, students are asked to form forest biotechnology research groups and develop a presentation for funding to support their work. One of the student groups serves as the National Biotechnology Funding Panel that will decide on allocating monies to the groups. Each group will tackle a specific topic i.e. protecting trees with biological pest control methods, improving trees through genetic engineering and develop a presentation. 

The National Biotechnology Funding Panel will make final funding decisions and allocate money to each research project based on its own research; the class biotechnology evaluation criteria list, the quality of the group presentations; how each group responds to questions; and its working budget.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • It teaches about the government funding application process.

Strengths

  • The multiple dimensions, ecological, economic and social are well covered with a strong interdisciplinary approach and the complexity of the issues are respected 
  • The resource is consistent throughout with the central purpose well reinforced through most individual activities. A group student assessment tool is provided
  • The package is up-to-date and the content on forest biotechnology is leading edge
  • The resource is anchored in a valuable real-world simulation .

Weaknesses

  • The teacher might supplement the lack of background information on biotechnology in general for the preliminary activity.
  • There is no extra support offered to teachers outside the background information in the resource. Nevertheless, teachers should be able to succeed with what is available.

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
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 12: Sustainable land use is essential to meet the needs of a growing population
  • Manitoba
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      • Social Studies
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        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
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      • Science
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        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Scientific & Technological Skills & Attitudes
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Advanced Environmental Science 120: Earth Systems
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: An Overview of Environmental Science
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        • Canadian Geography 120:Managing Natural Resources
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        • Canadian Geography 1202: Natural and Human Systems
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        • Environmental Science 3205: Land Use & the Environment
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        • World Geography 3200/3202: Ecosystems
        • World Geography 3200/3202: Primary Resource Activities
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        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
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        • Impacts of Change
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      • Geography
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        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
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        • Science (Univ./College Prep.) Biotechnology
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        • Canadian Studies 401A: Canada Work & Worth
        • Canadian Studies 401A: Canada's Global Connections
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
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      • Science & Technology
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        • Applied Science & Technology: The Technological World
        • Science and Technology: The Technological World
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    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Sustainable land use is essential to meet the needs of a growing population

Themes Addressed

  • Food & Agriculture (1)

    • Biotechnology
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Forests
  • Science and Technology (1)

    • Appropriate Technology

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory
  • The consideration of potential negative impacts of forest biotechnology and the coverage by the evaluation criteria allows the author to address the issues fairly
  • However, their is no presentation of any interested stakeholders and their points of view.
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 Very Good
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
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Poor

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 Poor/Not considered

Poor

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Poor

There was no discussion of groups who depend on forests for their living, indigenous or non-indigenous.

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

Poor

The subject lends itself to outdoor site visits to various forested areas affected by the topic. This was not done.

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 Poor/Not considered

Poor

The subject lends itself to exploring locally focused biotechnology, even with regard to urban forests. But this was not done.

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 Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very Good
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
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 Poor/Not considered

Poor

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 Satisfactory
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
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
  • Summative assessment criterion and weightings are provided that will assist students on how to apply their efforts.
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
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 Poor/Not considered

Poor

Presenting the voices of stakeholders in a forest biotechnology case study, and a values clarification component, might contribute to improving 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 Satisfactory
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.