When you look at what inquiry based interdisciplinary learning offers environmental education the answers are endless. There is an endless amount of questions students can ask and try to find the answer too making it easy to incorporate cross curriculum outcomes and indicators. It helps make students ask question about the environments past, future and present. What happened here, what is happening here and what will happen here. Giving students the chance to ask questions and reflect on there findings can make for a impact full lesson. Having students reflect on there own questions helps them make connections with what they are doing which can lead to a new way of thinking and knowing.
For my self, looking back on my schooling experience I do not remember doing any lesson that involved inquiry cycles. I can think of times where we would ask our own questions and reflect on what we learned but I do not remember how the lessons went. This would happen at the start of a unit where we would here the general topic and we would say what we knew and ask questions on what confused us. We would then do the unit and follow up with our questions when it was over. It did help me make have a deeper understanding on the topic as I was trying to find the answer to my questions throughout the unit.
For my visual this week I chose to create a braid showing how you can weave different components together making inquiry based interdisciplinary learning opportunities. Environmental education can be brought into every lesson as you will never run out of questions to ask about it as there is always something new and more to learn.
In grade eleven I was in the Greenall Outdoor School (ODS) program and in that we went on multiply week long trips to different ecoregions around Saskatchewan. We would visit different historical sites and learn all about what happened there and how it impacted Canadian history. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been in that program as it helped me to began embodying what I was learning compared to just being in the classroom. On this one trip we went on a four day 40km backpacking trip to Grey Owls cabin. Grey Owl was a British born man who chose to take on a fraudulent First Nations identity as an adult. He was a well known author and lecture in where he challenged people to re evaluate there relationship with nature. He largely focused on humans negative impact on the environment as a source for profit of natures resources. Once we reach Grey Owl’s cabin which is very isolated. We started to recognize the respect he had for the environment as everything about his cabin and the way he lived was trying to respect it.
I really liked what Newbery said in Canoe Pedagogy “Presenting
students with representations of how Aboriginal peoples have been strong,creative, and resilient throughout Canadian history…”. This quote stood out to me as I remember thinking how strong, creative and resilient Grey Owl must of been to be able to live out in the middle of no where and create everything he needed to survive of the resources around him.
My visual is of my ODS class standing in front of Grey Owls actual cabin where he lived completely off the land with his two pet beavers raw hid and jelly roll. The cabin had a beaver lodge on the inside.
I really enjoyed going to the water treatment plant last week as it helped me understand more about the process of which we put water through. Even more then just seeing how the treatment system works and happens to what we flush away, it showed that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to reusing what we can. Rather then just dumping the used water away with all the dirty chemicals that can cause damage to different areas. We are trying to find new ways in which we can save the area around us. Experiences like going to the water treatment plant can be a very powerful for students as it gives you inspiration to help make a change. I really like what David Sobel said “…we need to give them time to connect with nature and love the Earth before we ask them to save it”. This quote helps me understand how to go about trying to inspire students to embody what we use everyday and move towards saving what we have left. The more opportunities we give students to make connections with nature the better off our future will be. I chose to make a cycle visual as I found it helped me understand how everything we flush doesn’t actually go away. What we flush away still comes back to make an impact on our environment and how things will be in the future. Knowing the system of what water goes through is a major factor is moving towards being more ecoliterate and our process of embodiment.
When I think about my journey to becoming more ecoliterate as well as understanding how to move towards embodiment. The first thing that comes to mind is how my recycling habits have increased throughout this journey. Before we used to empty our recycling bin once every two weeks but ever since myself as well as my whole family have been trying to leave a smaller footprint. We have noticed that our garbage has gone down but our recycling has gone up. I’ve must noticed this in how much lighter the garbage bin has been compared to before as I take it to the bottom of the driveway. This shows if we stop what we are doing and try to change our habits and really think about what it means to embody what we are doing we can help make a change in the small things which helps improve the bigger things in our life. The one major thing I noticed with my habit changes is how I now think is this recycling rather then thinking is this garbage. This goes along with what the guest presenter was talking about as he talked about how you need to help people understand how to change what they are doing rather then just talk about change. If you just talk about change you will never fully make that change, you need to take the leap into action and make it happen.
Embodying Eco-literacy can change dramatically depending on who you are talking too and what lesson they have been taught in the past. For many our first taste of learning about the environment comes from the ones who first teach us how to walk and ride a bike. Our parents help nurture us into what we are today and that was reflected in many of my fellow classmates letters/poems they wrote.
After reading Sean’s and Jane’s posts on how there parents encourage them to get out of the house and enjoy the environment there were surrounded in really made a connection with me as I had similar experiences. Kimmerer says “the land is the real teacher” (p.222), this is true for all of us as we can all think back to times where the land helped us find the answer. While reading Kayla’s poem to her grandma I noticed that she talked about how the land was a main teaching/connection point for them which goes along with our three stories on how we all felt that connection to the land from our loved ones who passed that passion onto us. I connected with Sean when he said “You taught me valuable lessons like composting which is to never throw your vegetable and fruit wastes in the garbage but instead to go throw it out in the garden.” as my parents made this an important lesson for me to fellow. I remember reading Orr’s bold clam that “all education is environmental education” (p.12) and thinking about the different ways that this has been true in my life and others. After reading these different letters/poems I now know how we all can get something different out of a certain task or lesson that will stay with us as we grow up.
There was a reoccurring difference I was noticing while reading Sean’s and Jane’s letters to there mothers. In both posts they talk about how they planted flowers every spring which helped deeper there understanding on how the Eco system works. They taught them about different types of flowers as well as how to make sure that the “…soil is cultivated until it felt rich.” as Sean said. Planting flowers with there mothers made a lasting impression on them and helped them connect with the environment in that way. While for Kayla and myself focused more on how we were more connected to the respect aspect for the environment around us and how fully feel its beauty.
Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: [indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants]. Minneapolis, Minn: Milkweed Editions.
Orr, D. W. (2004). Earth in mind on education, environment, and the human prospect.Washington (DC): Island Press.
Dear Mom and Dad
From a very young age you two taught me the importance of respecting the world around me and all it has to offer. Whether it meant making a larger garden in our back yard or saving egg shells all year round to add to that garden in the spring. You two always made sure that us kids understood that importance of doing the little things in order to make a bigger impact. Now some of these little things that you made sure we did when we were younger are incorporated into my daily life which makes it easier to do. My passion for the outdoors has came from the countless times we went camping or skiing in the mountains where I was taught how to enjoy different environments. I cant say thank you enough for teaching me how to give back and respect the environment around us.
Once I started thinking about taking a leap into action I thought back to last summer when I decided to stop using my car so much. Living out of town I can easily burn through a tank of gas a week which is a lot for someone who drives a small car like myself. I decided to make a change in how much I use my car by starting to walk and use my bike to get places. I made the change by finding a summer job that I could ride my bike to and from everyday instead of driving even if it did mean waking up a half hour earlier. Once I started using my bike I cut down from a tank of gas a week to a tank a month as I started using my bike if I was going to a local friends house, restaurant nearby as well as the gym. I noticed very quickly that my leap helped improve my physical fitness as well as my mood throughout the day as I got much more fresh air in the morning and later at night. I realize that we are not in the ideal biking conditions this time of year but I am however still trying to use my car less weather that means car pooling with a friend to school or walking somewhere local instead of starting my car up.
During my grade 11 year I was lucky enough to be apart of the Greenall Outdoor School program. In that we traveled across Saskatchewan searching for new places to make our classroom such as an small island on the church hill river that we spent learning about its rich ecosystem. When I was reading David Orr’s “What is Education for?” he said “All education is environmental education” this statement really stuck with me as I learned subjects such as English, History and many more while being out in those isolated areas away from the normal classroom setting. Settings like that help make education more exciting and repeatable for students as it did for me. When you can point out things that you are talking about and actually have your students use all there senses to fully understand the lesson it can make a lasting impressing on you as a learner. There’s one moment from being in the outdoor school program that changed my idea on what being stuck in a wind storm really means. When we were out camping in the Grassland National park we found ourselves in a middle of a wind storm during the night that pushed our tents to its limit. There were points when the other side of our tent was slapping us in the face because the wind was blowing that hard but then it would change and be coming from behind us which I never knew that wind of that strength could change so quickly. This storm made for a powerful journal entry the next day as we all experienced something extremely new to us that we might never have had the opportunity to if we were stuck in the classroom.