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Flutter By: Designing a Butterfly Habitat

Elementary, Middle

Description

This learning activity provides students with the opportunity to explore the life cycle of a monarch butterfly by viewing online photo galleries and a shared class reading of an informational text about the monarchs.  They will create their own visual representation of the butterfly life cycle as well as discuss butterfly habitats. As a final activity, the students will work with a partner to design a butterfly habitat on paper.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • how to plan and design a butterfly garden based on plant needs.

Strengths

  • The integration of Math and Science within the learning activities.
  • The activities are engaging and easily managed.
  • The topic is one the students would find interesting.
  • The appendices of useful information for the planning of the garden would be very useful.

Weaknesses

  • There is a lack of assessment materials such as rubrics, interview questions, etc.
  • The students could also be allowed more choice in terms of their final project based on their interests in the topic.
  • There are no case studies provided.  It would be interesting if a video clip of a class building a butterfly garden could be included.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource fits very nicely into an elementary discussion of habitats and life cycles.  

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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
    • Wildlife Protection
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Habitat Restoration
    • Planting Native Species

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

There is no bias towards any one point of view within this resource.

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 inquiry wall activity addresses the environmental dimension and provides opportunities for a teacher through the activities to include in their discussion attention to the social and economic dimensions of the issues.  Although it is not explicit in the resource.

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

The teacher will need  to provide opportunities to add this dimension to the discussions with the class.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The opportunities provided for students to take action are only provided through extension activities.

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

This could happen through discussions but it is not a direct approach within the resource.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this particular resource.

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
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
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

An understanding of the effects of the loss of habitat for the butterfly is examined. The students develop an understanding that they can make a difference by planting a butterfly garden. There isn't a focus on the past with a comparison to the present day.

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 Good

There is a combination of Math and Science within this resource.

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

This resource provides students with the opportunity to explore the life cycle of a monarch butterfly and begin an inquiry investigation into why their population numbers are decreasing.

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

The variety of activities includes different instructional approaches.

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

The only opportunity for a hands-on learning experience is through the extension activities.

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 Poor/Not considered

There are some suggestions provided for assessment opportunities; however, there are no concrete tools provided within the resource.

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

In the final activity students are given an opportunity to provide feedback to another group on their butterfly garden design as well as the opportunity to engage in a habitat gallery walk where all of the projects are shared.

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

There are no case studies included in the 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 Poor/Not considered

The resource is not structured in this manner.  

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.