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Through six related activities, the resource uses an interactive format to examine how humans can conserve the agricultural resources that will be necessary in order to produce food long into the future. The role of science and technology in achieving this goal is emphasized throughout and students use scientific reasoning and tools to complete the lessons in each activity.
Activity 1 Students complete an on-line tutorial to learn how to formulate a scientific argument. Concepts explored include evidence vs opinion, data sources and data analysis, levels of certainty and scientific reasoning.
Activity2 Using maps and data provided by the resource and an interactive on-line lesson, students explore the effects that human development has had over time, on agricultural land.
Activity 3 Students discuss how soils are formed and lost through erosion before completing an on-line lesson on soil conservation.
Activity 4 Students analyze climate graphs and complete an interactive lesson to illustrate the relationship between climate, climate change and crop growth.
Activity 5 In this interactive lesson students examine those farming practices that help prevent erosion and improve soil fertility.
Activity 6 Students explore past methods that successfully increased agricultural production and make predictions about future yields in agricultural production.
Common to all activities is the use of computational models to make predictions. Each activity also draws attention to the “principle of uncertainty” and the concept of ‘stock and flow.
This resource will support teaching units at the secondary level that address land use, food production, soils, human impact on the environment and scientific reasoning.
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|
The inquiries are largely data driven. Alternate perspectives are included where appropriate (eg. the discussion of GMOs).
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Satisfactory|
Little attention is paid to economic influences in land use as it relates to agriculture. However, the discussion at the conclusion of Activity 2 (Using the Land) provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interplay of all three dimensions.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The complexity of the challenge in producing more food on a shrinking amount of available land is made clear.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Action opportunities have not been included.
|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
Much of the guided discussion following each activity involves asking students based on what they have learned: "Why do you think....." and "How do you feel....".
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
While attention is given to the global disparities in agricultural opportunities and production that are at play, social impacts are not specifically addressed.
|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|
The impact of humans on the earth and its agricultural ecosystems in particular is a significant theme of the resource.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The learning activities have a global focus.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The data and computational models used in the activities effectively address the past, present and future challenges in producing enough food to feed our population.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students arrive at answers based on their own analysis of actual data and by applying the computational models provided with the activities.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The resource addresses themes in science, social studies, geography and technology.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Students participate in interactive lessons, on-line tutorials and in-class discussions.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The data and tools for analysis are drawn from real events. Students are taught scientific reasoning and given the opportunity to practice it.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
It is suggested that much of the research be done in pairs or small groups.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
Suggestions for formative assessment accompany all of the interactive lessons.
|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 is not a focus of this resource beyond cooperative learning discussions taking place within pairs or small groups.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Very Good|
Activities are built on real data and current modelling techniques.
|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.|