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Explore and Embrace a Special Wild Place: Gr. 6-8

Elementary, Middle


With these activities the students discover their own special wild spaces, where they can explore their relationship with the outdoors and develop an appreciation for the natural world.

In Activity #1, the students take a field trip to find their own special place.  Once there they observe their surroundings and record their observations, thoughts and feelings on a chart.

In Activity #2, the students read and discuss a story with two conflicting perspectives on how to treat a special wild place.  They will discuss the dilemma, brainstorm resolutions and create their own ending to the story.

In Activity #3, the students participate in a role-playing game in which they work as an animal to find the four necessities that are key to their habitat needs.

In Activity #4, the students complete web-based research and then a quiz that involves matching the descriptions of protected areas in Canada with the province/territory in which they are found.

In Activity #5, the students research an adventure trip to one of Canada's protected areas.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource teaches the following skills:

  • mapping
  • problem-solving
  • cooperation
  • team building
  • researching
  • writing for a special purpose


The strengths of the resource are:

  • excellent resource sheets and background information are provided
  • the activities are novel, interesting and worthwhile
  • the evaluation sections provide good ideas
  • respect for nature is encouraged


The weaknesses of the resource are:

  • supporting material for the Activity #3 is no longer accessible
  • several links to the Wild Education site are no longer working

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.

Themes Addressed

Citizenship (1)

  • General Guide to Taking Action

Ecosystems (4)

  • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Habitat Loss
  • Interdependence
  • Wildlife Protection

Food & Agriculture (1)

  • Pesticides

Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

  • Habitat Restoration
  • Recreation

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The activities help the students to see the issues from a variety of perspectives.

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
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 interactions between the social, environmental and economic aspects are presented.  The resource only briefly touches on the need for development as our population grows and the consequences.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The extension activity provides a valuable opportunity for the students to work towards bettering their community. 

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 Very Good

In Activities #2 and #3 the students are given the opportunity to develop their own ideas with the questions given.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The students in Activity #2 are shown two different perspectives on what a person may find beautiful in nature.

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 Very Good

This is definitely a strength of this resource.

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 Very Good

Activity #1,  the extension for Activity #4 and the culminating event provide students with an opportunity to work in their local community.

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

A strong sense of the present along with a positive view of the future is inherent in the 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 Very Good

The discussion questions and activities allow the students to come to their own conclusions. 

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 Good
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 Very 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 Very Good
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 Good

Although there are no "tools" given within the document, the resource does include a section on evaluation with each activity that indicates what the skills the students should be able to demonstrate.

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
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 Very Good

In Activities #4 and #5 the students examines protected spaces from around Canada.

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

Activity #5 is the only activity that offers choice to the students.  They can create an adventure to one of Canada's protected places based on their interests.

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.