Author: Learning to Give
Grade(s): 6, 7, 8
Unit Length: Lesson 1: 45min, Lesson 2: 90min, Lesson 3: 90min, Lesson 4: 90+min
Topics: Health, PE, Math, Community, Data analysis
Unit Overview: Students explore healthy living habits for themselves and for their community. They practice making healthy food choices, exercising and helping people of the community do the same. Learners develop a service-learning project based on a community needs assessment.
Grade 6 – Big Ideas
Data from the results of an experiment can be used to predict the theoretical probability of an event and to compare and interpret
Grade 7 – Big Ideas
Data from circle graphs can be used to illustrate proportion and to compare and interpret.
Grade 8 – Big Ideas
Analyzing data by determining averages is one way to make sense of large data sets and enables us to compare and interpret
Physical Education and Health
Physical and Health Education 6 – Big Ideas
Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being
Physical and Health Education 7 – Big Ideas
Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being
Physical and Health Education 8 – Big Ideas
-Advocating for the health and well-being of others connects us to our community
-Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Author: EcoSchools Canada (Karen Ing and Dan Kozlovic at the University of Toronto)
Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12
Lesson Length: 2-5 hours
Topics: Math, Biology, Species Populations
The population dynamics of an ecosystem and the determination of the current state of a species population dictate whether or not a species is ‘’at risk’’. Conducting a population census is one method ecologists use to evaluate the state of a species. Once a population is deemed at risk, recovery efforts can range from habitat restoration to relocation to the management of other species such as predators. Each of these efforts can itself impact the population dynamics of species other than the one they are intended to benefit.
Grade 9 – Big Ideas
Analyzing the validity, reliability, and representation of data enables us to compare and interpret.
Grade 10 – Big Ideas
Foundations of Mathematics and Pre-calculus: Representing and analyzing situations allows us to notice and wonder about relations.
Workplace Mathematics: Representing and analyzing data allows us to notice and wonder about relationships
Grade 11 – Big Ideas
Foundations of Mathematics 11: Statistical analysis allows us to notice, wonder about, and answer questions about variation
Workplace Mathematics 11: Representing and analyzing data allows us to notice and wonder about relationships
Environmental Science 11 – Big Ideas
Complex roles and relationships contribute to diversity of ecosystems
Author: Evergreen Canada (Melanie Bergelt)
Grade(s): 1, 2 ,3, 4
Lesson Length: ~40min
Topics: observations, questions, habitats, community
Description: An important building block in the inquiry process is close observation and the questions it generates. In this activity, students act as scientists in research teams to explore different school ground habitats. Students practice outdoor group work skills.
Ontario – Grade 4
Topic: Life Systems
Strand: Habitats and Communities
Specific Lesson Goals:
Grade 2 – Big Ideas
Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment.
Grade 3 – Big Ideas
Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems.
Grade 4 – Big Ideas
All living things sense and respond to their environment.
I absolutely love to play in the snow. Chances are, so do your students! Now that the polar vortex seems to be over (knock on wood), it’s a great time to get outside and let those kids burn off some steam! I highly recommend adding quinzee building to the list of winter activities you do outside.
A quinzee (sometimes spelt quinzhee) is a temporary shelter made from hollowing out a pile of snow. When it’s done, it resembled a snow cave. Building a quinzee through school usually happens in an outdoor education setting, but I believe the activity has several cross-curricular applications:
Constructing a quinzee can be a great way to have kids work collaboratively. They need to work together to move snow around with a tarp, and alternate roles of digging out snow, snow removal, and hunting for sticks. They’ll also be making several decisions as a group like picking a site, determining how big to build, and where to put the door. There’s added communication challenges too: they need to talk amongst each other to express if they are tired, claustrophobic, cold, or bored. Plus it’s pretty tricky to hear clearly when there’s a foot of snow in between people: the students inside the quinzee will need to be constantly listening for the voices of the students outside the quinzee (and vice versa). I recommend students working in groups of 3-5.
The obvious connection here is with First Peoples history. The word quinzee has Athabaskan origin, and was used as temporary shelter in winter (and is still used for winter camping, and can be used as a survival shelter). In grade 3 one of the big ideas is on people from diverse cultures can have commonalities, so if you’re going in this direction you can connect quinzees to Finnish lumitalos. You can also contrast a quinzee with an igloo, which is an Inuit structure made from ice blocks. Beyond specific content, overarching ideas emphasized in BC’s curriculum such as First Peoples Principles of Learning (learning is experiential and recognized the roles of indigenous knowledge), and Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives (experiential learning, engagement with the land, nature and outdoors) can be incorporated through quinzee building.
As an exercise science geek, I get a little too excited about thermoregulation physiology (Anatomy & Physiology 12 is in our new curriculum!), but it’s far more likely you’re looking for elementary connections. Starting in grade 3 one of the ‘big ideas’ is that living things interact with the environment, in grade 5 the big idea shifts towards how organs can help with survival, and in grade 7 both survival needs and a changing climate are within teachable content. Have you checked out the Snow Smarter inquiry lesson for grades 3-6? Why not extend the lesson by going outside and making observations about how snow changes throughout the quinzee building process?!
Flexible Learning Environments
If you’re struggling to leave your walled in fortress of the classroom, remember: “Learning can happen anywhere, not just in classrooms”. Obviously, quinzees have to be constructed in the snowy cold (well, hopefully not too cold) outdoors. Since they can be constructed in the school yard, you will still have access to amenities like bathrooms, and a warm classroom, which may make it a great opportunities for you to embrace flexible learning environments in winter time.
If your classroom management is on point, and your students are eager and prepared, I believe students as young as grade 3 could construct quinzees.
Last but not least, I have created my first Teachers Pay Teachers resource, and it’s absolutely FREE! It includes a Teacher Info Package (including lesson plans, equipment lists, etc.), Prompts & Questions, a slide show lesson, and several pictures of the quinzee building process. Please check it out, and send me some feedback: Building a Quinzee: A Snow Shelter How-To
The idea of this blog has been on my mind for sometime, and it means so much to me that your here to check it out. Although I will admit, my writing skills are a tad rusty, I am asking you to stick with me through the turbulence of learning to blog. There is so much I want to get out into the world, but here is where I want to start:
‘edu•Kate•ion’ has been created for educators to help you take your classes outside to learn.
There are so many barriers to learning outside, and I would argue that the barriers are absolutely worth climbing over: the rewards far outweigh them!!! BUT that doesn’t mean those barrier vanish. They exist. They stink. They are money, and time, and curricular connections, and equipment, and bad weather. I get it. But that’s where the blog comes in! Here are my four objectives:
If you have any suggestions or if there is something you would like to see on the site, please let me know.
Until next time,