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ESS439 Issues in Science and Environmental Education Assignment 1: Science or environmental topic report Part A: Science Topic Report

t Balanced and healthy ecosystems are fundamental to sustaining life of all kinds, including ours. The importance of understanding and protecting remaining native vegetation is vital in ecosystem and biodiversity education. It is not only plant communities which have been degraded, but all the components of the ecosystem which are connected to them animals, from large mammals through to invertebrates, water bodies, landscape formations and air quality, just to name a few. Australia has a startling history of extinctions. In just over 200 years, 18 species of mammal have become extinct about half of all worldwide extinctions (ABS, cited in School Environmental Education Directory [SEED] 2009). As there continues to be an extremely high number of species at risk of extinction throughout Australia, it is vital to educate young Australians about how ecosystems and the biodiversity within them play a key role in sustainability. This three-week program aims to educate Grade Five students on biodiversity and ecosystems. Additionally, students are to present an oral presentation explaining what their ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats in 2012 didnt affect it, and how it would look if current threats in 2012 did continue to affect it. These questions are based around Living in 2030: An Experiment in Survival, where Cook states (cited in Living in 2030: An Experiment in Survival, 2009) Students are invited to imagine a world in 2030 if nothing is done business as usual and then they are presented with the challenge of making a difference. Students will have two sessions per week, which compose of seventy-five minute periods. The aim of the program is for students to complete a research project on an ecosystem they find interesting in class presented on an A3 poster, whilst making a diorama of an ecosystem in a shoebox at home of their researched ecosystem (see Figure 1), which they will present to the class as an oral presentation in the final session of the program. Similarly to Living in 2030, we have created our 3 part assessment task around Gardners theory of Multiple Intelligences, in order to provide students with a variety of ways to demonstrate and reinforce their learning. This unit of work links to Victorian Essential Learning Standards Level 3: HUMANITIES: Humanities Knowledge and Understanding Figure 1: From direct observation or observation of a variety of media, A diorama of describe the human and physical characteristics of their local area an ecosystem and other parts of Victoria in a shoebox Source: SCIENCE: Science, Knowledge and Understanding Google images Identify how these features operate together to form systems which support living things to survive in their environments And Level 4: SCIENCE: Knowledge and Understanding Students identify and explain the relationships that exist within and between food chains in the environment The program design is outlined below in lesson plans, which show activities for the students and timeline for each session.

Lesson 1 Introduction to Habitats and Ecosystems Time Learning activity 9.15 9.20 Explain to your students that they are going to be studying a unit on ecosystems. To discover what an ecosystem is, they are going to think about their own life. Ask them all to close their eyes and imagine their home. Have them think about the specific things they need in their home, where these are and what they look like. Ask the students now to open their eyes and draw their home on the piece of paper in front of them, including all those things they need in it. The heading for their pictures is My Habitat When they are finished, ask the students to tell you what the most important things were that they needed in their home, and write the list on the board Explain that a home for an animal or plant is very similar. They have a list of things they need around them too. Many would be similar to what the students need e.g. food, resting place, water. We call their homes habitats. Ask the students to describe what a Polar Bear needs in its habitat. Write a list on the board. Have the students bring their pictures up to you. Stick the pictures onto the butchers paper/cardboard, arranging them into a town type structure. Ask the class to tell you what else you would need to make a complete town like the one they live in. E.g. Roads, schools, shops, hospitals. Draw these features in. Discuss with the students how all the features in the town are connected. Who and what places do the students interact with and rely on day to day? People live in their homes, which provide shelter and a safe place to sleep. People move between homes and other places in the town to get food, play, interact with other people and go to school or work. Many people work in jobs or do other things that help other people or help the town. So the people in the town rely on each other to survive. Explain to the students that this is how it works in natural areas too. If a group of peoples homes is called a town, ask the students what they think a group of habitats would be called. The best word is for it is ecosystem, where all the different plant and animals also need each other and work together to survive. Write Our Ecosystem above the town your class created. Source: School Environmental Education Directory [SEED] (2009) Lesson 2 Introduction to Biodiversity and Research Project Time Learning activity 2.15 2.20 Recap on habitat and ecosystem

9.20 9.35

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Explain Biodiversity Introduce the kinds of ecosystems in the world using images, touching on endemic animals and threats to each ecosystem. Emphasise specifically on current threats to each environment, explaining how these current threats could potentially devastate the whole ecosystem: Grasslands, Forests, Rainforest, Antarctica, Ocean, Coastal, and Desert Explain Research Project to students see Appendix 1 This project requires students to research an ecosystem of their choice, write a research assignment, create a shoebox ecosystem and give a two-minute presentation on their ecosystem. Go through each part of the project with the students, specifically touching on how the current threats will affect each ecosystem in 2030 if they continue to affect them at their current rate, prompting the students to recall the threats to each environment and probing them to explain why these threats could be a problem in 2030. Students research their chosen ecosystem using the internet. Students save their work, and tell the teacher which ecosystem they have chosen to research, which the teacher records.

Lesson 3 and Lesson 4 - Research Project Learning activity Move to the library where students can use the internet or books to research their ecosystem. Students to complete Part a of their Research Project see Appendix 1, this includes their research. They may stick their information on to their poster in Lesson 5. In the last 25 minutes of lesson 4 allow students to paint their shoebox (part b see Appendix 1) the colour they would like. E.g. if a student is doing an ocean ecosystem they may want to paint their shoebox blue. The rest of part b is to be completed at home. Lesson 5 Complete Part a of the Research Project 9.15 10.30 Students are to complete their research for Part a. They must print out their information and pictures, which is to be stuck onto an A3 piece of paper. If they finish early they can help a friend with their poster. At the end of the lesson explain that next lesson they will present their ecosystem shoebox to the class in a two minute presentation which they must answer the questions in part c of the research project see Appendix 1. Explain that the teacher in the presentation will ask these questions, and it is to inform their peers about their ecosystem. Lesson 6 Presentation of students Ecosystem Shoebox (Part b) to the class 2.45 3.30 Students are to present their Ecosystem Shoebox to the class in a

two minute presentation (Part c) where they explain: - Why they chose that ecosystem to research - What their ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats (2012) didnt affect it - What their ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats (2012) did affect it, and - An interesting fact about their ecosystem

Part B: Environmental Education Proposal While year 5 students are doing their research project on ecosystems we are aiming to include the whole school (staff, students and parents) in learning about ecosystems, although they will not learn the topic in as much detail as year 5 students will we are hoping that they will have a basic understanding of what an ecosystem is, where they are found and what they may include, obviously the older students are the more they will understand. We have thought of some teaching strategies (see below) to include the whole school in the year 5s research project. Teaching strategies: Peer learning- is an educational process where peers interact with other peers interested in the same topic. It is when we learn with and from each other. We can do this formally or informally (Unknown, 2009). Peer learning will be implemented into teaching other students about their chosen ecosystem through oral presentations that students are required to do in part c of their assignment. Using a buddy system where grade 5 students have a younger buddy in year 1 peer learning can be used to inform the younger students about their research project and hopefully pass their understanding on to a younger student. Newsletter features/ daily bulletin/ school assembly- every week each grade 5 class must come up with a short paragraph about an ecosystem in Australia to be included in the newsletter and daily bulletin for teachers, students and parents to read. One student from each year 5 class will be asked to present their ecosystem shoebox at assembly. This would be non-formal education as it is outside of traditional learning in which the content is adapted to all ages in order the maximise learning (Etllng, 1993) Fundraiser/ free dress day- year 5 teachers and students will organise a fundraiser day where students can wear free dress fitting in with the theme How old and what you will be in 2030? to raise money for an environmental charity such as World Wildlife Fund, The Melbourne Zoo or Clean Up Australia. It will be gold coin donation for wearing free dress and there will be a cake stall which grade 5 students sign up to help run and provide cakes, a BBQ will be held at lunch time with sausage sandwiches for staff and students, and lastly there will be a lolly jar going around the week before the free dress day which students can guess the amount of lollies in the jar and enter by paying a small fee of $0.50. The winner will be announced on the day of free dress. This teaching strategy would be informal learning as it is not necessarily intentional learning by students, and so may well not be recognised even by individuals themselves as contributing to their knowledge and skills (European Commission, 2012).

References: Alpine Shire, Indigo Shire & Rural City of Wangaratta 2009, Unit 1: Planting an Idea: Ecosystems, School Environmental Education Directory, retrieved 13 April 2012, <http://seed.vic.gov.au/Resources/217_biodiversity%20unit%201%20planting%20an%2 0idea.pdf>. Living in 2030: an experiment in survival. Department of the Environment and Heritage. Australia. Etllng, A, 1993, What is Nonformal Education?, Journal of Agricultural Education, retrieved 12/04/12, <https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:gqajERvvmxYJ:pubs.aged.tamu.edu/jae /pdf/Vol34/34-0472.pdf+define+informal+teaching&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg1OHDrewMMsPY50tMnRd6h-HRJbd8KjRDQ76se7pRiktucd7XCx_yG5tjKAz3UVQQsfIUk_W_Ph5n8TJvpJHnrSVk3gq4p9vXSlhJsV0xwsUqrwXpzFjT8fal6W4cDJ_Wh9a&sig=AHIEtbTVgQtF oUJ9PZHJ7gWSDbczyQWIKw>. European Commission, 2012, Definition of formal, non-formal and informal learning, retrieved 12/04/12, <http://diakvallalkozas.ktk.nyme.hu/definition.htm>. Unknown author, 2009, Learning Path #1: What is Peer Learning?, retrieved 12/04/12, <http://wiki.sos.wa.gov/PeerLearning/Default.aspx?Page=Learning-Path-1-What-isPeer-Learning&NS=&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1>.

Appendices: Appendix 1: Research Project Research Project on an Ecosystem Part a: Research Project You must choose an ecosystem to research. You may choose from: Grasslands, Forests, Rainforest, Antarctica, Ocean, Coastal and Desert. Once you have chosen the ecosystem you will research you must investigate the following questions and write your information into a word document: - Location of the ecosystem including a map: The map shows where they ecosystem is located in the world and country - The type of ecosystem you are researching. For example: Desert - The plants and animals that live in the ecosystem. You may want to include pictures of the plants and animals for extra marks. - Possible current (2012) and future (2030) threats to the ecosystem you are researching. Once you have written and copied the pictures for your assignment into a word document you are to print out the word document in colour. Cut out and stick the pictures and information onto an A3 piece of paper given to you by your teacher. All research will be done in class, unless you miss a lesson. Then you may need to do some research at home to catch up. Part b: Ecosystem Shoebox This is the part of the assignment where you design your ecosystem in a shoe box. This part of the assignment is to be completed at home, but you will be allowed time in class to paint the background of your ecosystem. Your teacher will explain how you are to make your Ecosystem Shoebox and provide examples so you can see how past students have made theirs. Additionally you may want to get a parent to help make your Ecosystem Shoebox. You will be marked on the logical design and appropriateness of your Ecosystem Shoebox. Part c: Oral Presentation You are to present your completed Ecosystem Shoebox to the class in a two minute presentation where you will explain: - Why you chose that ecosystem to research - What your ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats in 2012 didnt affect it - What your ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats in 2012 did continue to affect it, and - One interesting fact about your ecosystem

Appendix 2: Research Project Rubric Research Project Rubric Criteria Part a: Research Project Choice of one ecosystem Correct location of the ecosystem, including a map Research on plants and animals that live in the chosen ecosystem, with correct pictures Research on current and future possible threats to the ecosystem Presentation Part b: Ecosystem Shoebox Logical design Inclusion of correct plants and animals in the ecosystem Presentation Part c: Oral Presentation Explanation as to why they chose their ecosystem to research Explanation of what their ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats in 2012 didnt affect it and what their ecosystem would look like in the year 2030 if current threats in 2012 did continue to affect it One interesting fact about the ecosystem Time limit of oral presentation: <2 minutes: Low 2-3 minutes: Medium High >3 minutes: Low Comments: Low (1) Medium (2) High (3) Mark