Submitted by: Ben Hockley
Grade level: middle-years,secondary
Core Competencies: communication,creative-thinking,positive-personal-and-cultural-identity,social-responsibility
Subject Disciplines: earth-science-and-space-science,outdoor-education
Subject: Science Grade: 6-8 Timing: 10-15 minutes each class, for about 8 classes
Main Idea: An outdoor exploration of different lenses we can use to do observations. This is inspired by David George Haskell’s (2013) book “The Forest Unseen.”
- To get students outdoors.
- To observe, get-to-know, and to potentially build a relationship with a small patch of land on the school grounds
- To acknowledge the limits of western Scientific Method, and to bring awareness to other, valid ways of doing Science
- D – To begin seeing how the lenses we use have a big influence on how we learn and what we learn
BC Curricular Competencies
- Make observations aimed at identifying their own questions about the natural world
- Observe, measure, and record data (qualitative and quantitative), using equipment, including digital technologies, with accuracy and precision
- Ensure that safety and ethical guidelines are followed in their investigations
- Experience and interpret the local environment
- Consider social, ethical, and environmental implications of the findings from their own investigations
- **Express and reflect on a variety of experiences and perspectives of place**
Preamble: When conceptualizing this lesson, I envisioned grade 8 students at the beginning of their first year of high school. In this stage, students are trying to make sense of many new things, such as:
- What does “learning” look like at the high school level? (Many are under the impression that it is rigorously academic)
- What expectations do high school teachers have?
- How are relationships formed in high schools?
- What is my place in this high school?
I think grade 8 is the ideal time for teachers to openly embrace ideas that seem “different” to students, such as in this lesson. Teachers can show the value that they hold for such diverse and holistic learning, and for the power in seeing the world from different perspectives. Furthermore, and especially as Science teachers, we can show that we’re experimenting with the ideas in this lesson, and that we might have fear or anxiety about them not “turning out well.” I think beginning the Science 8 year with this honest, transparent approach might help create a classroom that is safe, courageous and caring.
- Whiteboards or large paper for brainstorm
- Rulers, magnifying lenses
- Legal size paper + hard portable surface to write on
- Safe space to store booklets
- Optional: Outdoor cushions for comfier experience
|1 : 45 minutes||
|2-8 : 15 minutes||In lessons 2-8, the same 15 minute process becomes a routine:
After each, option to engage in conversations to gauge student temperature or direction with the activity
|9 : 30 minutes
Assessment: As a final “summative” piece for this activity, students will take home their booklets and engage in a reflection. Encourage multiple options for modes: audio, written, video, drawn. This will be handed in to be seen by the teacher only. Or, if the students prefer, they can sign up to have a conversation about these reflections instead of handing something in.
1: So, what did you learn about Patch? And how did you learn about Patch?
2: What did you learn about yourself in this activity?
3: Do you think any of the observations you took were more important than others? If so, which were the most important observations?
4: Do you think you care about Patch? If so, what do you think made that happen? If not, could you think of a different space that you would care about?
5: Describe how you did with Leave No Trace.
6: How might you change this activity if you were to do it again?
- “What is Living” unit in Science 8 Biology. How different lenses can influence what we understand as being living or not
- If there is connection to place in this activity, revisiting Patches throughout the year to observe seasonal changes
- School grounds mapping activity – cross-curricular with Socials 8
- The power of language – cross-curricular with Socials 8 – further depth into how naming, counting, labeling nature influences the way we know it
- British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2017). Science 8. In BC’s New Curriculum. Retrieved from: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/science/8
- Haskell, D. G. (2013). The forest unseen: A year’s watch in nature.