Project 1: Forestry Connections

  General Information

Lead Teacher(s): Amy Ralph - Grade 5 Teacher
(aralph@thezone.net)

Dianne Boyd - Kindergarten Teacher
(dboyd@thezone.net)

School: Memorial Academy
P.O. Box 5000
Botwood, NF
A0H 1E0
Tel: (709) 257-2346
Grade Level: Grade 5
Number of Students: Approximately 45 students initially with possibility for expansion into other grades.
Project Start and Finish Dates: March, 1998 - June, 1998. Our aim, however, is to expand the contracts established in these initial months in order to put more Grade 5 students online in successive years.

  Project Overview

The students at our school come from five different communities in the Bay of Exploits area. Historically, these five communities have had significant attachments and reliance on forest resources and the industries associated with it. Presently, however, this industry is in major decline in our area and significant out migration is taking place along with serious social and psychological problems associated with unemployment. Our aim is to create a home page for our school and establish linkages with regions of Canada that have significant reliance on forestry industries, We hope, in particular, to interact with schools in the coastal area of British Columbia, Northern Ontario, Eastern Quebec, and North Eastern New Brunswick.

We hope, as well, to establish contact with communities in the Scandinavian region of Europe, particularly coastal areas of Norway and Sweden, where significant forestry industries are supplemented with fishing and agricultural industries.

Our students will prepare a series of on-line questions to solicit similarities/differences with participants in other areas. As well, they will be prepared with information from our own area to respond accurately to questions from participants in other regions.

  Curriculum Connections

Social Studies:

This project has significant connections to the area of Social Studies where students will study how an area's Primary resources impact on the kinds of occupations and quality of life in a region. Students at the Grade 5 level at our school have studied the forestry industry in our local region and this will give them an opportunity to expand their knowledge of how other distant communities are influenced by the forest resources around them.

In particular, in the Social Studies area, it will enable students to:

  1. acquire the global concept of community.
  2. appreciate the similarities of peoples who depend on forest resources.
  3. help students understand the concept that industries change over time and over-reliance on one particular facet of industry is often detrimental to a people.

Language Arts:

This project will enable our Grade 5 students to apply skills and utilize vocabulary learnt in the other subject areas. In particular, skills will be developed and expanded in:

- writing reports and response summaries
- oral language skills
- group language skills
- information assessment and analysis
- reading and language development

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will learn about the similarities and differences between forest-reliant communities in other areas of the world.
  2. Study will explore how different communities have developed the forest resources adjacent to their communities.
  3. Students will learn how other communities have adapted to changes in local forest resource utilization.
  4. Students will study how the exploitation of forest resources have impacted on the animal and plant populations in other areas.
  5. Students will investigate how the development of secondary forest industries have helped communities remain visible.
  6. Students will produce and interpret charts and graphs to compare/contrast the out migration of families from forest reliant communities as the industry declines or changes.
  7. Students will develop charts to compare communities in terms of infrastructure and services.

  Resource Connections

Our school presently has Internet connections for teachers only through the STEM~Net Program. None of the 436 students at our school presently have access to on-line services in the school. The school is equipped with a modern computer lab, however, and each classroom has at least one computer system in it. Having Internet access would enable all students, particularly materials and other Social Studies and Science information not presently available.

  Evaluation

On-going evaluation of students participation and the level of achievement will be conducted by the teachers and administration. Students will be required to keep detailed records of contact with other students and to record information gathered in their on-line searches.

Emphasis will be placed on a "team approach" to learning with this project and teachers will closely monitor group work and the collective decision-making that will be stressed.

It is our hope that the information and skills that students will acquire through participation in this project will help them to understand better the nature of some of the social and psychological problems that are evident in our area. As well, it is hoped that information will be gathered from other communities that will help us to realize our stagnant economy and improve the overall quality of life.

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