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Schoolyard Bioblitz Education Kit

Middle

Description

The Schoolyard Bioblitz involves students in a hands-on activity to encourage an appreciation of local plants, animals and habitats while exploring the concept of biodiversity. The resource is made up of six lessons with 10 activities:

Section1. Students participate in a fun activity that introduces the idea of taxonomic groups. They are asked to colonize another planet by gathering and transporting all of the species from their province. In doing so students will learn the number of species in each group and create a graph to illustrate the diversity. During the next activity, students complete an exercise in which they solve a mystery to reveal a secret code connected to the importance of biodiversity.

Section 2. Students will watch a documentary film. In order to ensure the comprehension of the documentary students will be asked to answer questions in relations to key themes in the film.

Section 3. Students select and map an area for their bioblitz identifying the different habitat types present and predicting which organisms they will be find. Students then plan the data collection method they will use during the bioblitz by completing a brainstorming exercise and sharing their ideas with the class.

Section 4. Students conduct the bioblitz

Section 5. Students tally, categorize and graph their findings before taking part in a guided discussion.

Section 6. Students will learn about different careers in science.

Link to the documentary film, Every Living Thing - experiencing a bioblitz

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • graphing
  • data collection

Strengths

  • good quantity and quality of background materials for teacher
  • all handouts and activities are complete
  • good variety of novel activities for student engagement

Weaknesses

  • the lack of assessment materials or ideas
  • video link in resource no longer available see description for link to video

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The lesson plan and activities included in Schoolyard Bioblitz would be a wonderful addition to the middle school Science classroom for hands-on and engaging activities to help accomplish the outcomes related to habitats, communities and biodiversity.

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.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions.
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Wayfinding: Making sense of your world: Learning and Living Sustainably
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7 Earth Surface Processes: Learning and Living Sustainably
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8 Beyond Earth: Human presence in the solar system: Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Diversity of Life
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions in Our Environment
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Diversity of Life
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Life Science: Diversity of Living Things
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems

Themes Addressed

Ecosystems (3)

  • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Biodiversity
  • Bioregionalism

Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

  • Forests

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Through the bioblitz activity the students are able to gain a deeper appreciation for the variety of organisms in their neighborhood. Through discussions, the students will also develop an understanding of the variety of habitats nearby and how healthy habitats help to encourage more biodiversity.

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 resource effectively addresses the environmental dimensions of the issue.  It is structured in such a way that the economic and social dimensions aren't discussed.  The teacher will have to supplement the lessons in order to achieve this.

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
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The resource does create an awareness of biodiversity and healthy habitats.  It will be up to the teacher to guide the students towards making a difference in their community via a pledge or other actions.

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 be achieved via the class discussions, but it is not a core component of the activities.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
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 a definite strength of the 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

All of the learning is directly connected to the students' own surroundings.

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
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

In this inquiry-based activity, students collect their own data and draw 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
  • Science
  • Math (data collection and graphing)
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

Planning, conducting and debriefing components of the bioblitz offer a quality guided-inquiry experience.

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 does address a wide variety of learning styles with the included activities.  It does not however, include strategies for learners with difficulties.

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

Some group work is included.

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 & 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
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
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

The students at different points in various activities are given the opportunity to make choices.

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.