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Water

Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children

Elementary, Middle

Description

The activities in this resource are designed to teach students about the properties of water, as well as the importance of protecting our water supply.

Students will:

  • read and listen to Aboriginal legends depicting the importance of water to human survival.
  • create the sounds of an imaginary rain fall.
  • use art supplies to turn a person into an aquatic animal.
  • visit a pond or stream and observe and examine aquatic creatures.
  • participate in a relay that simulates the water cycle.
  • pantomime and guess the identity of some ocean animals.
  • compare the actual sizes  of ocean animals, using lines marked on the ground.
  • create water as salty as the ocean, and compare freezing temperatures.
  • play a scavenger hunt/matching game while collecting plants and animals in the tide zone.
  • create the sound of a wave.

This chapter is part of a larger compilation, "Keepers of the Earth", and is intended to be taught in conjunction with the other lessons in the book. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches:

  • how to create the sound of rain.
  • the concentration of salt in the ocean.
  • the definitions of waves and currents, and how they are measured
  • how the different creatures and organizes in the oceans manage to survive.
  • about tide and tidal waves and how and why they are formed.

Strengths

  • Chapter is well organized with clear goals and outcomes.
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in authentic learning experiences which take place out of doors, and which encourage a personal affinity with the Earth.
  • Activities are designed to engage a variety of students with varying learning needs, and developmental levels.
  • The background information which is required is good quality, and informative to the educator.
  • The use of an Aboriginal legend acts as a good way to grab the attention of students.

Weaknesses

  • Students are not given the opportunity to take part in authentic action projects.
  • Chapter does not adequately address numerous issues/concerns relating to water.
  • Chapter does not take on a multidisciplinary, systems thinking approach.
  • Chapter does not adequately respect the complexity of issues relating to water.
  • Students are not given the opportunity to act as mentors or teachers to share their knowledge of what they have learned.
  • Students are not empowered to choose certain elements of the content independently.
  • Resource is slightly dated, with no reference to pertinent web resources.

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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Water (1)

    • Water Cycle

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory
  • Although this resource provides a lot of valuable information regarding water, it does not represent many different points of view in regards to the uses of water or the economical, political or health aspects of water.
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
  • The chapter skims over a variety of issues relating to water, but does not adequately address these issues to any real extent.
  • This chapter does not include multiple dimensions of problems and solutions.
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 Satisfactory
  • Resource has large quantities of information relating to water, but does not fully address the complexity of problems.
  • A systems thinking approach is not taken.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
  • Action activities are poorly developed and students do not have the opportunity to take part in authentic action experiences.
  • Extension activities are suggested, but not an explicit part of the overall 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 are given some time to explicitly express their own values, but adequate reflection is not always given in order for students to develop these values.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
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
  • Many of the activities within this chapter take place out of doors, and are related to the observation of aquatic life, as well as the understanding of the water system.
  • Students are encouraged to respect all things that they experience out of doors.
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
  • Students have the opportunity to visit local watersheds as part of this chapters activities.
  • Students do not adequately address the impact that water has on their day to day lives, and how important it is to protect this.
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 Satisfactory
  • Aboriginal legends create an appreciation for the past and the oral tradition.
  • Minimal time is spent discussing the plight of the water ways in today's society or how it may look in the future, should we not take care of it.
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
  • Many of the activities within this chapter are teacher directed, however students do have the opportunity to visit local watersheds and make unique observations on their own.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning 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
  • Many of the activities within this chapter are teacher directed, however students do have the opportunity to visit local watersheds, and experience aquatic life first hand, where they can make unique observations on their own.
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 Good
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
  • While many of the activities within this chapter are simulation activities, students do have the opportunity to visit a local watershed to experience aquatic life first hand.
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
  • Students work in groups, but cooperative learning strategies are not explicitly taught.
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 Satisfactory
  • Students actively demonstrate their skills and knowledge through activities and discussions.
  • Assessment practises are not provided for students or teachers.
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
  • Incidental teaching arises through presentations and group learning activities.
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
  • Relevant case studies are not provided for students or teachers.
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
  • Many of the activities presented within this chapter are teacher directed.
  • Students do however have the opportunity to visit a local watershed where they are able to make their own observations, and questions.
  • Extension activities are provided, but are not given explicit direction.
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.