Project 1: On the Trail of the Polar Bear
The polar bear has for many years been a seasonal visitor to the coastal regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. In this project we hope to involve the grade 7 students of our province in a thorough study of the polar bear. This study will follow a three-fold approach. In the first phase students will gather and share information regarding the basic facts surrounding the species to familiarize themselves with the creature and its life cycle. For example, in this stage students will collect and share data on a range of topics such as physical characteristics, habitat and distribution, adaptations and diet. The point here is to allow the students to develop a basic understanding of the animal.
In the second phase students will be expected to gather and again share data concerning sightings of polar bears from their own localities. Students will report on any pertinent data such as the place, the number, size and circumstances.
In the final phase students will endeavour to utilize the knowledge they have gained to develop a greater respect for this noble animal and hopefully enlighten others. The past has demonstrated that on occasion people and the polar bear clash. Unfortunately, all too often it is the polar bear rather than man that is the loser. In order for students to create an awareness among themselves and demonstrate to significant others (general public, Internet users, wildlife personnel, police, fisher folk, etc.) that both bear and humans can coexist harmoniously without unnecessary harm to either, they will be encouraged to make suggestions as to how this might become a reality.
On the Trail of the Polar Bear will support the Grade 7 curriculum mainly in the following subject areas.
The project will closely tie in with the objectives of the unit, "Characteristics of Living Things" in the Intermediate Science Program.
The project will enable students to further develop basic communication skills set up in the Grade 7 Program of Studies through research and oral and written presentation.
The project will make connection with certain objectives of the Grade 7 Social Studies program especially with respect to specific North American cultures located in northern coastal regions and their relationship with the animals in their environment.
The STELLAR Schools connection will allow this project to become a reality because it will provide the students with access to the WWW enabling them to search various sites to locate the relevant data. Furthermore, the online connection will make email interaction available to students so that the knowledge gathered can be shared more efficiently.
Other resources that may be used in the working through this project are available printed sources, CDs, videos, photos, and resource people.
Over the duration of the three phases of the project periodical informal evaluation as students are observed carrying out the various processes. However, at the project's completion, each participating class will be expected to submit a comprehensive report outlining what they have learned from all three phases of the project.