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

Elementary

Description

The activities in this resource are designed to explore the three major kinds of rocks, their properties and the dynamics of geology.  This chapter also focuses on soil- the components of soil, soil formation and the importance of soil for growing plants.

Students will:

  • listen to a an Aboriginal legend and imagine themselves as rocks.
  • discuss what soil is made up of, how soil forms and its importance to life on Earth.

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

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This lesson does not include the teaching of skills.

Strengths

  • This chapter provides a good quality of background information describing the rock cycle and the different types of rocks.  It is especially suited as an introductory lesson on rocks.
  • Introduces Aboriginal legend to initiate the idea of rocks and the Earth.
  • Activities are well organized with clear outcomes and goals.
  • Activities are designed to meet the learning needs of a variety of different students.

Weaknesses

  • Students do not partake in authentic action experiences.
  • There are no out of doors activities.
  • Assessment ideas are not included.
  • Students do not have the opportunity to choose elements of their programming.
  • Relevant Curriculum Units

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          • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
          • Rocks and Minerals
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          • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
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    Themes Addressed

    • Ecosystems (1)

      • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

      • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews
    • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

      • Rocks and Minerals

    Sustainability Education Principles

    Principle Rating Explanation
    Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory
    • The lesson incorporates Aboriginal legend into conventional earth science.
    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
    • This chapter focuses on earth science.  It is however part of a larger compilation which collectively explores the various components or dimensions.
    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
    • This lesson is designed to introduce students to geological cycles.
    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

    • 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 Good
    • Students are given opportunities to reflect independently as they listen to the Aboriginal legend, and as they are lead through the story of the rock cycle.
    • Students have the opportunity to reflect as they are lead through the drama activities in which they personify the Earth and the rock cycle.
    Values Education:

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

    Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
    • The importance of the Earth for all people is encouraged.
    • Importance of Aboriginal legends to history is used as a starting point for the lesson.
    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 part in dramatic activities where they personify the Earth and rocks.
    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
    • This is not a strengthe of the resource but students do take part in a variety of simulation activities that help makde the learning concrete.
    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
    • Activities begin by reading or listening to an Aboriginal legend.
    • Future is not effectively addressed within this resource.
    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 Satisfactory
    • Although there is not an abundance of opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, this chapter does encourage the use of drama, as students attempt to pretend they are the Earth as they listen to a story of the rock cycle.
    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
    • Majority of the activities within this resource are teacher directed, with few opportunities for students to explore 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
    • Activities will address the learning needs/styles of a variety of different students.
    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
    • Simulation activities are used to teach about the rock cycle.
    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 are given the opportunity to work in groups, but are not explicitly taught cooperative learning skills.
    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 Poor/Not considered
    • 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 from group work activities and discussion.
    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
    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
    • Students are not given the opportunity to choose elements of their programming.
    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.