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Spark Climate Conversations: Climate Justice in the Canadian Artic

Decoding Carbon Educator Resource

Secondary, Middle

Description

In this activity, through guided conversations, learners will identify ways that climate change is disproportionately affecting the livelihood of the Inuit in the Arctic. Through inquiry, learners will examine how climate change disproportionately affects Indigenous Peoples and identify ways of taking action to address how climate change disproportionately affects Indigenous Peoples.

This activity was created by consulting with Mihskakwan James Harper - a passionate Nehiyaw (Cree) man from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, located in Treaty 8 territory (northern Alberta). With an MSc. in Renewable Energy, he is dedicated to bringing solutions that empower communities with clean technologies, ensuring that the children of the future get to experience the gifts of the land as much as he did.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students have an opportunity to strengthen those skills associated with

  • developing a hypothesis
  • analyzing data
  • articulating a perspective and
  • presenting their findings

Strengths

While, there a considerable number of resources that focus on the causes and consequences of climate change, this particular resource provides students with a case study that moves the discussion from the abstract to the concrete by examining how climate change is affecting a particular community of people.

The many activities in the resource will engage students, while helping them better understand the interplay between the environmental, social and economic changes that are occurring in the Arctic because of climate change. 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource may be used as a case study on the affects of climate change.

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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  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Social Studies
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comparative Cultures 12: Geographic and environmental factors influenced the development of agriculture, trade, and increasingly complex cultures
        • Human Geography 12: Human activities alter landscapes in a variety of ways.
        • Physical Geography 12: Interactions between human activities and the atmosphere affect local and global weather and climate
  • Manitoba
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      • Geography
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        • Geographic Issues of the 21 st Century: Food from the Land
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        • Citizenship and Sustainability:Area of Inquiry: Indigenous Peoples
        • Global Issues
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        • Science 9 Ecosystem Dynamics: Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
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        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: An Overview of Environmental Science
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        • Canadian Geography 120:A Geographic Perspective on a Current Canadian Issue
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        • Canadian Geography 1202: Natural and Human Systems
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        • World Geography 3200/3202: World Climate Patterns
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        • Social Studies 3201: Human-Environment Interaction
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        • Norther Studies 10: Module 3: Northern Economy
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        • Geography 10: Spaceship Earth
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        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Habitats, Population Dynamics and Management
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        • Environmental Studies 35: Northern Climate
  • Ontario
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        • Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability
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        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
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      • Science
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        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
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        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Introduction to Spacial Technologies: (Open):Using Spacial technologies to Support Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
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      • Geography
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        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Ecosystems and Human Activity
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
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        • Native territory
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        • Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
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        • Geography 10: Climatic Regions and their Effect on Man
      • Science
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        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Integrative Nature of Environmental Science
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Human Geography 12: Human activities alter landscapes in a variety of ways.
        • Physical Geography 12: Interactions between human activities and the atmosphere affect local and global weather and climate

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Bioregionalism
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Justice
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • TEK -- Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The resource uses an inquiry learning approach to examine how climate change is disproportionally affecting the livelihood of the Inuit in the Arctic. The Spiral Inquiry Model guides the students through a series of steps that first "sparks" the learners into thinking critically about a topic or question followed by other steps that include  hypothesizing and planning, exploring and researching, analyzing and checking, and finally communicating and acting. 

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

Students are asked to reflect on how carbon intensive their province is with that of Nunavut; how climate change in Nunavut affects sea ice conditions and the movement, population, and distribution of various animals and fish; and how this relates to hunting and fishing and the livelihood of the Inuit, both of which are central to the Inuit culture.

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

The resource helps students recognize the interplay of various elements as they examine the impact of climate change on the Inuit. It links climate change to sea ice conditions in the North, it identifies the link between disappearing sea ice and fishing and hunting, it examines the link between fishing and hunting and the Inuit economic livelihood and food security, and it explores the connection between fishing and hunting and Inuit culture. Finally, it notes that others rather than the Inuit are largely responsible for climate change.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

Step 7, the final step in the resource, guides the students in considering what action they might take to spread awareness of what they have learned. Suggestions include personal initiatives to reduce one's carbon footprint, supporting local food security initiatives, using social media to share their learning and understandings.

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

A key issue addressed by the resource is the issue of responsibility - both collectively and individually. The other issue is fairness in sharing the consequences of our actions and that of others.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

One of the outcomes identified by the resource is to have learners examine how climate change disproportionately affects Indigenous Peoples. They have not been major players in the causes of climate change but are dramatically affected by the consequences of that change. 

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 traditional way of Inuit life provides students with an example of a people whose way of life is deeply connected to the natural world and how changes in that world create challenges for the continuation of that way of life.

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 Good

Climate change is a reality for all peoples. We all have a share in causing climate change and we all will share (although unequally) in feeling the consequences. One of the activities has students recognize the contribution that their province makes to climate change and asks them to compare their role with that of Nunuvut.

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

The story of climate change in the North has three chapters - chapter one describes the traditional culture that has developed here, chapter two investigates the current challenges to that traditional way of life, and chapter three (yet to be written) will tell the story as to the success of the Inuit in meeting those challenges.

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

The resource activities has students examine the impact of climate on the Inuit of the Arctic using a series of steps based on the principles of inquiry learning. Various prompts are used to spark a discussion on the issue, to answer hypothesis guiding questions, and to explore and analyze data.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

An examination of climate change in the Arctic draws upon a number of disciplines. The unique landscape of the Arctic is central to understanding the consequences of climate change there (Geography). In examining the impact of climate change on the Inuit, students must consider the challenges it creates for maintaining the traditional livelihood of the North with its dependence on hunting and fishing and on food security (Economics). The possible loss of a traditional way of life is also one that has relevance for the study of culture and society (Social Studies). Finally it calls on the learner to consider the responsibility of the individual and the state (Civics, Political Science)

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 Good

The authors of the resource declare that they have adopted the principles of inquiry learning in developing the various activities included and they are right in making the claim.

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

The resource is quite creative in adopting a variety of learning approaches. A video is used to provide introductory information. Relevant data is accessible online. A series of cards are used to have students develop hypotheses concerning wildlife and culture, explore issues related to sea ice, analyze the degree to which the data supports their hypotheses and act on their learning.

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

Given the nature of the topic, the resource is limited to providing learners with real life stories about Arctic life, online data from the UN and Health Canada, and news reports on Arctic developments.

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 Good

A number of the activities invite students to work in groups to discuss and share share perspectives. Other activities take advantage of pair-share strategies and include groups presenting their findings to other groups.

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

The different activities allow the teacher to take the measure of student understanding (formative evaluation), while the Inquiry Cards completed by individual students provide a degree of summative evaluation.

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 Good

There are a number of opportunities for students to share hypotheses they have developed, data they have analyzed and conclusions they have reached.

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 Good

Two separate videos provide a picture of the challenges faced by the Inuit as the sea ice disappears. The story about climate change in the Arctic is itself a case study that illustrates the challenges inherent with climate change. It is something of the canary in the coal mine.

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 Good

Since the resource adopts the inquiry approach to learning, direction and the required information is provided by the teacher and the resource but the assigned activities allow the learners to control the findings or conclusions derived from their investigation and to determine how that might inform their actions.

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.