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Context based unit – Farming
Over the past three decades context-based and science–technology–society (STS) approaches to teaching science in high schools have become increasingly popular. These approaches aim to develop scientific understanding while aspiring to foster more positive attitudes to science (Binnie, 2004). The context-based approach is an approach adopted in science teaching where contexts and applications of science are used as the starting point for the development of scientific ideas (Bennett, Lubben, Hogarth, 2006). This contrasts with the more traditional approaches you see more frequently in schools where scientific ideas are covered first, before looking at applications.
Learning is a complex and multifaceted process that goes far beyond drill-oriented, stimulus-and-response methodologies. Learning occurs only when students process new information or knowledge in such a way that it makes sense to them in their own frames of reference (Center for Occupational Research and Development, 1999). When designing a context based unit it is very important to take into account the social and cultural backgrounds of your students. This unit of study is underpinned by the context of “farming” and is intended to be taught at an agricultural school. I believe this context has the ability to motivate students and make them feel more positive about science while also helping them see the importance
of science and its conceptual meaning. When considering factors such as student interest, local resources and cultural backgrounds I believe farming to be a context that draws on the framework of society in all aspects of everyday life. Contexts are culturally bound and therefore communicate meanings
that are culturally shaped or defined (NSW Board of Studies, 2002). Living in Australia farming affects all individuals either directly or
Elise Tweddell 11156231
The students will be exposed to a farm during this unit and they will have the chance to have first hand experiences of a farming life. Farming as a context should encourage students to recognise. further develop and apply their scientific understanding and knowledge. Because this program is designed for a agricultural school there will be resources at the school that will allow for a constant connection from the science to the farming context. The farming context will be kept at the forefront of this teaching sequence through constant examples. biology and ecology and shows students that these concepts don’t occur in isolation but all apply to each other. Guest speakers of active farmers will also be used to keep the context of farming as engaging and authentic as possible. Elise Tweddell 11156231 . Students will spend time on a working farm and will be able to relate this experience to the science that is being taught. Australian ecosystems. I believe farming is relevant to all students immediate and future lives. multicellular organisms and their relationships to each other. The dot points chosen have relevance to farming as every concept that is investigated takes place in a farming context. They allow for the integration of physics. These dot points allow students to apply knowledge of farming to scientific concepts of energy.2 indirectly. This context will also be kept at the forefront of the teaching strategy through the use of video and other ICT mediums. photosynthesis. respiration. connections and actual experiences to farming. The syllabus dot points chosen have been done so because they give the students a variety of scientific concepts while still relating to farming and making the transfer of learning both possible and simple.
events and conditions of farming. and invention will allow students to experience activities that are directly related to real life work of a farmer. The experience of working as a team is authentic to real life situations. Cooperating. Learning in the context of sharing. The application on this knowledge can give students a sense of connection between schoolwork and real-life applications of knowledge. Experiencing. 1999). It is imperative that students can transfer the information taught from the farming context to other situations in life and understand that it is not just relevant to farming. Through the REACT strategy this unit is structured to encourage five essential forms of learning: Relating. The fourth stage of the REACT strategy is cooperating. Relating will be the first form of learning where students will learn in the context of life experiences. The next stage in the teaching and learning sequence is experiencing. This unit will firstly call the students attention to everyday sights. discovery. Learning in the context of exploration. 1999. responding and communicating with others is a primary instructional strategy in contextual teaching (Centre for Occupational Research and Development. The final and most important stage in this unit is the Transferring of information taught. This learning approach “appears to “take” far more quickly when students are able to manipulate equipment and materials and to do other forms of active research” (Centre for Occupational Research and Development. and Transferring.3 This unit is underpinned and framed by a teaching approach called the REACT strategy. Applying. This approach had been chosen as I believe it accounts for lifelong learning where students will be able to make connections to everyday life and transfer information form one context to another. This information and concepts will then be applied to farming and can project students to think about possible career paths or possibilities. p 4). Elise Tweddell 11156231 . It will then relate those observations to new information and the science underpinned by the everyday life experiences.
. NSW Board of Studies (2002). Sydney: author. Wiley InterScience.boardofstudies. Lubben. Inc. Texas: CORD Communications.nsw.edu..4 Reference list Bennett. Centre for Occupational Research and Development. 5 and 6 Science Syllabuses. Hogarth.347-370 Binnie. F. (2006) Bringing Science to Life: A Synthesis of the Research Evidence on the Effects of Context-Based and STS Approaches to Science Teaching.. (1999). A. Available at: http://www. (2004) Development of a senior physics syllabus in New South Wales. 490-495.au/syllabus_sc/ Elise Tweddell 11156231 . Physics Education 39(6). Teaching Science contextually. Waco. J. S. Stages 4.
Skills 4/5. This context is chosen to encourage students to participate and engage in the learning process. potential (stored). gravitational • Energy is what makes things happen e. change shape • Kinetic energy allows tractors to move • Food gives animals energy to survive. light. move.g light energy makes plants grow. chemical. grow.5 Program outline Contextual outline This unit is created to teach a yr 8 science class. Identify if this energy type is potential or kinetic. identify and extend connections between their learning and their experiences therefore. The unit below is set out in the order in which it should be taught Syllabus reference 4. Activity example Brainstorm and list ten types of energy in use on a farm (power tools. heating. tractors) then discuss how the energy is used to make something work.17 processing information a) collate informatio n from a number of sources b) distinguish between relevant and irrelevant informatio n PFA Values and attitudes 4/5. This unit is used to explore scientific concepts from the stage 4 science syllabus including biology. Energy = the ability to do work • Energy in a system may take on various forms: kinetic (moving). A farm would not function without the use of all of these energy types. The choice of “Farming” as a context was used because all students should be familiar with farming and have some idea of what it entails. heat. lights. Energy types found on a farm include: • Light energy from sun to make plants grow • Chemical energy stored in food for farm animals • Electrical energy for lights and power tools • Kinetic energy from moving cattle.23 demonstrates confidence and a willingness to make decisions and to take responsible actions Elise Tweddell .6. sound.1 the law of conservation of energy b) use models to describe different forms of energy Unpacking the science Provide characteristics and features The law of conservation of energy states that energy may neither be created nor destroyed. electric. creating authentic learning. physics. Therefore the sum of all the energies in the system is a constant. reproduce 11156231 Connections to farming Examples of every form of energy can be found on a farm. ecology and technology topics.
moving tractors. Growing plants 3. potential (stored). heat. milking cows 7. bush fire • Potential energy of an apples ability to fall from a tree Situations in a farm where different forms of energy take place include: • herding sheep and cattle • green house where plants are grown • vineyard where grapes are grown • shed where tractors and power tools are used and kept • shearing sheep • horse riding • milking cows • chicken laying eggs • humans eating lunch • a farrier putting shoes on a horse • driving a quad bike 4. herding sheep 2. shearing sheep 5.1 the law of conservation of energy a) identify situations or phenomena in which different forms of energy are evident Identify and name the different forms of energy are taking place at each farming situation: 1.g. Recognise and name A set of circumstances and/or the location and surroundings of a place.6 A fruit growing on a tree has potential energy to drop to the ground • The sun produces light and the energy to make plants grow • Energy powers our vehicles. farm. chemical Places that these forms of energy can be found e. A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen Different forms of energy = kinetic (moving). • Heat energy from a burning camp fire. house. electric. farrier putting on a horse shoe 4/5. horse riding 6. power tools in use 4. kitchen ect Energy can be transferred and transformed to other types of energy • galloping horses. chicken laying eggs 8. light.15 gathering first-hand information a)make and record observations and measurement s accurately Elise Tweddell 11156231 . warms our homes and powers machinery in factories and farms.6.
or transformed to light or sound. sheep. birds. Multicellular organisms include plant and animals. These organisms could include: Cows. weeds. not all of the energy is transformed into useful forms. amphibians and invertebrates Places at a farm where a variety of energy transforms in everyday devices: Barbeque – chemical energy to light and heat Lighting – electrical to light Electric fence – electric to heat (if burnt) Tractor – potential to kinetic Whip being cracked potential to sound Students are to brainstorm 5 devises they would find on a farm and identify the energy transforms in those devises. 4/5.potential energy to kinetic Lighting – electric to light Stereo – electric to sound Recognise and name organism is any contiguous living system Multicellular organisms are organisms that consist of more than one cell and in which the cells are differentiated to perform specialized functions. fruit trees. pineapple plants.25 recognise the relevance and importance of lifelong learning and acknowledg es the continued impact of science of many aspects of everyday life 4.12 Technology b) identify a variety of energy transformations in everyday devices involving electrical.7 4. Examples include: Trees. mammals. chickens. fishes.8. sound. fish. Sometimes. For example. Most life that can be seen with the naked eye is multicellular. horses. the electric motor in a hair dryer transforms electrical energy into mechanical Energy. reptiles.4Multicellular organisms a) identify that there is a wide range of multicellular organisms In a farm ecosystem there are a wide range of multicellular organisms that can be identified. strawberry plants. birds. during a transformation of energy. Everyday devices where energy is transformed: Fridge – electrical energy to heat energy Car . Some of the energy may be transferred to the surrounding environment as unwanted heat. banana trees. light and/or heat energy Recognise and name Energy can be transformed into other forms of energy. The wide range of multcellular organisms that can be found at a Walk around the farm yard and name 5 multicelluar plant species and 5 multicellular animal species Elise Tweddell 11156231 . flowering plants. dogs. insects ect. olive plants. gum trees.
water.22. Plants both respire and photosynthesise.4Multicellular organisms d) identify the materials required by multicellular organisms for the processes of respiration and photosynthesi s Recognise and name multicellular organisms = Plants and animals that consist of more than one cell Respiration = the process by which all living things produce energy. All cells need energy to make things happen. Photosynthesis = process by which plants use the energy from the sun in the form of light to make their own food. Animals only respire. energy in the form of light.20 problem solving 4/5.14 performing firsthand investigations . Materials required for photosynthesis: chloroplasts. Design an experiment to identify the materials needed for photosynthesis. Every farm would have a ecosystem full of green plants that photosynthesise. How do crops grow and reproduce? What materials are required by crops to produce energy to grow. Because photosynthesis is happening at all of these farms all of the materials required for photosynthesis are found In groups of 5. Converts light energy into chemical energy The word equation for photosynthesis: carbon dioxide + water + energy (light) glucose + oxygen Elise Tweddell 11156231 farm makes a farm a great place to identify a huge range of multicellular organisms. Humans need to eat food to get energy to grow and live.8 4. chlorophyll. A banana or any other fruit producing plant farm would directly rely on photosynthesise for the survival and growth of their crops. Photosynthesis only occurs in the chloroplasts of a plant (this is where the chlorophyll is held) Chlorophyll traps energy from sunlight so that it can be used in photosynthesis. Respiration and photosynthesis are chemical reactions that use light and chemical energy.19 thinking critically 4/5. How do crops from a farm get this energy? All green plants photosynthesise to produce food for energy to grow and reproduce.2 working in teams 4/5.8. carbon dioxide. Design an experiment to identify the products of respiration 4/5.
... oxygen can also be taken in through stomata. that includes plants too. These animals do not photosynthesis but they do respire. Elise Tweddell 11156231 . Oxygen can also be taken up through the skin of some animals and gills of others In plants oxygen is a product of photosynthesis. The word equation for respiration: Glucose + oxygen carbon dioxide + water + energy (chemical) The materials required for respiration are the products of photosynthesis and materials required for photosynthesis are the products of respiration there too. A farm is not just occupied by plants. in plants this is a product of photosynthesis Respiration takes place in every cell in every animal and plant in the mitochondria. Every living thing within a farm ecosystem respires. Students can identify these materials needed for photosynthesis is found at a farm because photosynthesis is happening there every day.. Oxygen – in humans and other mammals oxygen enters the body via the lungs. Because respiration takes place at every farm either with plants or animals the materials required for respiration can be found and identified at a farm. it then diffuses into the blood stream and taken to all the cells in the body. a farm can be also full of animals like cows and sheep. Energy is released from respiration Respiration provides energy needed for all living things to work.9 Photosynthesis occurs during the day when green plants are in contact with sunlight. Materials required for respiration: Glucose – in animals this comes from the food the animal eats.
The food is used as the material for growth and to release energy for living. At a farm every living Using examples of organisms from a farm recall where producers get their energy from Using examples from a farm outline how consumers release energy from the food they eat. If plants could not produce their own food an ecosystem could not survive as they are providing energy to all other living organisms. Photosynthesis plays a very large role in any ecosystem as it provides he ecosystem with the much needed oxygen that every cell in every living thing needs to respire and survive. Photosynthesis provides plants with the energy to grow and when an animal eats that plant that energy is then provided to the animal to grow. All living things depend on the process of photosynthesis as it provides the continuous input of energy necessary to sustain ecosystems. Without photosynthesis occurring a farmer could not produce a crop or grow plants for animals to eat. Photosynthesis traps light energy and converts it into chemical energy in the form of glucose. This energy is then passed on when an animal eat the plant. A farm would not be a functioning ecosystem without photosynthesis taking place.10 4. Only producers can create their own food which is if great importance to all consumers in an ecosystem. Photosynthesis produces oxygen which is essential for respiration. Respirations role is to release energy from food. 4/5.26 Recognise the role of science in providing information about issues being considered and in increasing understandi ng of the world around them Elise Tweddell 11156231 . . Consumers feed on plants or other animals. A farm is an ecosystem and photosynthesis and respiration play a very important role in any farm ecosystem.21 the use of creativity and imagination a)seek evidence to support claims 4/5. All living things need energy to survive and without the process of respiration chemical energy in the form of food (glucose) would not be converted into other forms of energy (ATP) that the body needs for growth ect. All living things either directly or indirectly rely on photosynthesis. A farm can provide a great example of the importance of photosynthesis in an ecosystem.10 ecosystems c) describe the roles of photosynth esis and respiration in ecosystems Provide characteristics and features ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area.
consumers and decomposers you would typically find at a farm. Construct both a food chain and web with these animals. horse. 4. consumers and decomposers are related Provide characteristics and features A food chain shows how the energy stored in one organism is passed to another. crocodile found in farms in northern Australia) Many animals found in a farm eat more than one type of food and In groups of 4 name 5 producers. second order (dog. tables.10 Ecosystems b) describe. diagrams. how producers. databases. dingo.27 Acknowled ge their responsibilit y to conserve. All plants make their own food using the energy of the sun in a process called photosynthesis. research and developments in science a) describe some recent scientific contribution made by male and female scientists. protect and maintain the environmen t for the future Elise Tweddell 11156231 .22. using examples of food chains and food webs from Australian ecosystems.5 current issues. move. Julie and James were studying animals in their local park. A farm has examples of a variety of producers (flowering plants.2 working in teams 4/5. and discuss the effect of their contribution. olive trees) A variety of consumers from first order (cow. A food web is the joining of a number of food chains together. Producers = organisms that can make their own food. Consumers feed on plants or other animals. They made the following observations: 4/5. fruit plants. This means that they are in more than one food chain. Many animals eat more than one type of food. reproduce and all vital functions. Each organism depends on the one before. You can describe the role respiration and photosynthesis plays in a farm ecosystem and the importance they both have in the running of the farm as a functioning ecosystem. spreadsheets and flow charts to show relationships and present information 4/5. Consumers = organisms that rely on other organisms for their food. rabbit. organism respires an it is of great importance to the farming ecosystem as it provides all living things the energy to grow. 4/5. emu). kangaroo. graphs. including Australians.11 .18 presenting information e)use drawings. wombat. The food is used as the material for growth and to Australian farm provides a great example of an Australian ecosystem. snake) third order (kookaburra.
The energy in foods is released in a process called respiration. Professor Tim Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007. When an animal dies and is not eaten by another animal it decomposes. that break down dead animals and plants. He started his scientific career studying the evolution of Australian Mammals. ◗ Snakes eat mice and small birds. Flies and maggots are examples that can be found on any farm. therefore they could be included in a food web. largely for helping make Australians more aware of environmental issues. There are many examples of food chains and food webs that can be created from a farming ecosystem. The producers should be at the bottom.12 release energy for living. (a) construct a food web using this information. Decomposers = organisms such as bacteria. Making a career out of ecology or conserving the environment. The nutrients in the dead animals and plants are recycled back into the food web. The maggot then becomes a fly and the nutrients from the dead animal are recycled back into the ecosystem. ◗ Kookaburras eat snakes. Flies lay egg on dead animal and maggots eat away the animal. consumers and decomposers is also evident ◗ Grasshoppers clearly eat grass. worms and fungi. The connection between producers. Tim Flannery has published a book called The Future Eaters that described the damage humans have caused to the Elise Tweddell 11156231 . Decomposers are also evident in Australian farms. ◗ Mice eat grass seeds and grasshoppers. ◗ Small birds eat grasshoppers. (b) identify which organisms: (i) are producers (ii) are first -order consumers (iii) are secondorder consumers only (iv) are secondand third-order consumers (v) are herbivores (vi) are omnivores (vii) compete for food (viii) have more than one food source.
Destroy working properties by burning down buildings and machinery. spreadsheets and flow charts to show relationships and present information clearly Elise Tweddell . Present this information in a table. During periods of drought there is more soil erosion and bushfires are more frequent. Most of Australia is so dry it is not suitable for farming. Heat and smoke cause some plants to release seed and some seeds to germinate. Ash provides many minerals and fine texture. 4. graphs. drought and floods have on Australian farms. diagrams. Species of plants that are not 11156231 Bushfire. floods and drought have on Australian farms like the loss of livestock. Students can identify with issues bushfires.13 (c) Predict what would happen if the snakes died out. 4/5. Many Australian plants cannot live without fire. homes and property. Drought = a prolonged period without rain. Cause a lot of damage to wildlife. tables. Bushfires cause many animals to be killed. Destroy animal shelter and food sources causing animals to have to move areas to survive. databases. drought and flood on Australian ecosystems Identify issues and provide points for and/or against Bushfires = large out of control fires in bush land Very hot and burn everything it its path. crops and the damage of property. Student should be able to identify with the affects these natural disasters as they are publicised by may media publications. Australia driest continent on earth. Australian environment. this helps seeds to germinate and new plants to grow.10 ecosystems d) discuss some effects of bushfires.18 presenting information e)use drawings. Believed that regular burning fires lit by aboriginals have contributed to the type of vegetation now growing in Australia. drought and flood are all things that affect Australian farms. In pairs research the effects bushfires.
14 drought tolerant may be replaced by more drought-tolerant species. livestock may drown and crops can be destroyed. and topsoil can be washed from one area to another by the floodwater. plants and animals need to adapt to live in such dry environments Flood = An overflowing of a large amount of water beyond its normal confines Floods affect agriculture. Elise Tweddell 11156231 . This affects the types of animals that can live in the area. Flood can also provide much needed water to an ecosystem that is in drought. Cause disease to spread as sewerage systems overflow and mix with flood waters Affect the natural environment Vegetation may die if it remains under water for a long time. Floods can damage property that can be very costly to repair.