Project 3: The Forest of Newfoundland; A Joint Project of Grade Five, Gander Academy and the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest, Gander

  General Information

Lead Teacher: Jim Cornish
(jcornish@calvin.stemnet.nf.ca)
Participating Teacher(s): Marilyn Hounsell, Danny Kelly, Grace O'Reilly, Murray Strickland
Grade Levels: Grade Five
Number of Students Involved: 125
Project Start and Finish Dates: October, 1997 to June, 1997

  Project Overview

This submission for a Stellar Schools Project for Gander Academy is based on the following beliefs:

  1. While the Internet is an invaluable learning tool for students, many of its resources are too advanced for younger children. The language at many Internet sites is either too difficult for them to read or contains material that contributes very little to help fulfill curriculum objectives. To overcome these problems, many schools are creating resources suited to a young audience by having students develop their own webpages on topics covered in the regular curriculum. Consequently, the work being done in one school is supporting the learning being done in another.
  2. Teachers today are encouraged to use a resource-based approach to teaching all subjects. Using many different resources enables the teacher to provide a variety of learning experiences for their students. Consequently, teaching and learning is more than text based. Videos, CD-ROMs and additional print materials all help to lessen the linear look commonly associated with textbook based programs. Today, the Internet has become yet another resource teachers can use to support the resource-based approach.

Gander Academy has a long history of using resource-based teaching. This approach has been used in all areas of study, particularly in Language Arts, Science and Social Studies in Grade five for many years. This Stellar School proposal is an extension of a resource-based unit on the forest of Newfoundland that is part of the social studies program and a unit on plants that is part of the science program.

Grade Five teachers at Gander Academy have relied on the resources of the provincial and federal forestry departments and, more recently, on the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest near Gander. In developing this proposal we have formed a partnership with the Thomas Howe Foundation. Their role in this partnership will be to provide expertise and resources to teachers and students.

Upon the completion of phase one of this project, we will have:

  1. created an introductory page on the Gander Academy/Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest Stellar School partnership. This page will be created by the grade five teachers.
  2. created a series of webpages on forest related topics. Included will be a section on tree classification and identification, tree anatomy, forest enemies, and the forest floor. The section on forest anatomy will also be written in French by the grade five French immersion classroom. The content of these pages will be based on topics covered in the grade five science and social studies program.

  Curriculum Connections

There are three curriculum areas being addressed by this project. They are Science, Social Studies and Language Arts.

This project fits in with the overall curriculum plans in grade five. The science program contains a unit on plants. The social studies program, which is a study of Newfoundland and Labrador, contains a unit on forestry. Because the five teachers are homeroom teachers, these two subjects are integrated. The units are taught in the fall and include field trips to the Wooddale Nursery and the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest. All Students complete a project on trees. This Stellar School project will mean a continuation of this work, but, the student reports will now be completed using webpage editing software and will be placed on-line for other students to use. The diagrams and illustrations that compliment the text will be scanned images of student drawings and photographs either provided by our partners or taken by the students.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The intended learning outcomes of the project and their relationship to provincial learning outcomes are listed below.

1. Research Skills:

The grade five teachers of Gander Academy have prepared a series of learning centre activities that will cover basic research skills using books, reference materials, magazine indexes, CD-ROM multimedia software, and the Internet. These activities will focus on collecting information on forest related topics. This information will be used by the students to construct web-pages which will be part of the final product of this project.

2. Science and Social Studies: The Forest as Home for Plants and Animals and as a Sustainable Natural Resource

The plants unit in our science program covers such topics as the classification of plants and animals, habitat, adaptation and reproduction. The social studies program covers the nature of a forest and promotes its use as a sustainable natural resource. The research students complete in the classroom centres will cover these topics.

3. Language Skill Development

The on-line resources created by this Stellar Schools project will be written by students. They will be guided by their teachers in planning, writing and editing the content for the webpages. This approach will reinforce the process approach to writing taught throughout the grade five program. A HTML editor will be used to construct the these webpages and the World Wide Web will be used as the publishing medium. Students will be working from templates developed by the teachers. This approach will reduce the need to teach HTML at this level.

4. Art and Computer Imaging

Since the World Wide Web is a multimedia medium, students will add pictures to their webpages. These pictures will include scanned images from literature provided by the provincial and federal forestry services, digital and/or scanned pictures of the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest and scanned images of artwork created by the students.

Intended learning outcomes for Technology Education

The use of computers and computer related equipment will require students to learn basics computer skills such as using a mouse, keyboarding, using Windows, navigating the Internet using a web browser, image processing, writing with a word processor and using a webpage editor. The work will be stored on the network server. The students will also be taught the fundamentals of networking such as file and print resource sharing. All computer related activities will be monitored to ensure that the expectations as outlined in the sections on the nature of technology, communications technology and production technology as presented in A Curriculum Framework for Technology Education; Living in a Technological Society are accomplished. This Stellar Schools project will help students to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the nature and evolution of communications tools and processes
  • use a variety of communications technologies and tools
  • use communication tools to access, evaluate and select appropriate information and to create, modify and disseminate information
  • choose and use appropriate tools
  • develop a vocabulary of the language and terminology of selected production technologies

  Resource Connections

School Resources

The Stellar Schools project will enhance the forestry unit covered in grade five. It will give Gander Academy students access to all the resources of the Internet and the World Wide Web. This will compliment the ones that exist in the school’s and town’s library and the resources teacher have collected over the years.

Other Resources

This project will utilize several additional resources including the directors of The Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest Foundation, The Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest Site, foresters with the Newfoundland Department of Forestry, the Canadian Forestry Service, and the Wooddale Nursery. These professionals and the organizations they work for have traditionally been part of this forestry unit of study at grade five. This project will involve them further in developing on-line resources for any teachers and student interested in this topic in Newfoundland and indeed through-out the world.

  Evaluation

The evaluation of this project will be done two ways. The first method will include a variety of unit tests and quizzes that are part of the evaluation process used for reporting. These will determine if the learning objectives have been fulfilled. A list of the learning outcomes follows. The results can be compared to those of previous years when this unit was completed.

A Checklist of Learning outcomes

_____ students will be able to identify the most common species of trees of Newfoundland using leaf and cone shape, bark characteristics and tree shape.

_____ students will learn about the nature of the forest floor and be able to identify the common forest floor plants and to understand their ecological importance.

_____ students will be able to identify the different enemies such as insects, fire and poor management practices.

_____ students will learn about the anatomy of a tree and will be able to describe the common characteristics of the bark, leaves and roots of trees.

The second method of evaluation will be based on monitoring the access to the webpages the students create. URLs of the webpages created in this project will be submitted to all World Wide Web search engines for entry into their database. To evaluate the success of the project in providing resources for other students in Newfoundland and throughout the world, certain webpages will carry counters to record the number of accesses. Electronic mail hypertext links will also be included on the webpages to give users an opportunity to provide feedback on the value of this site to the teaching and learning of forest related topics in their school.

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