A Three-week Syllabus Plan

A Three-week Syllabus Plan

This three-week syllabus plan is a partially integrated, structured approach to the wildlife theme. The week outline below shows the breakdown of subject times (5 days x 5 hours per day or 25 hours per week). The eight key learning areas covered are English, Mathematics, Studies of Society and Environment, Science, Health and Physical Education, The Arts, Languages Other Then English, and Technology.

Teachers can adjust the timetable to suit personal, class and school priorities. Allowance may be made for additional school experiences such as assembly periods, library appreciation, and research times. The integration of mathematics or physical education, for example, may not be possible given curriculum demands and local school organization commitments.

A Three-week Syllabus Plan

This three-week syllabus plan is a partially integrated, structured approach to the wildlife theme. The week outline below shows the breakdown of subject times (5 days x 5 hours per day or 25 hours per week). The eight key learning areas covered are English, Mathematics, Studies of Society and Environment, Science, Health and Physical Education, The Arts, Languages Other Then English, and Technology.

Teachers can adjust the timetable to suit personal, class and school priorities. Allowance may be made for additional school experiences such as assembly periods, library appreciation, and research times. The integration of mathematics or physical education, for example, may not be possible given curriculum demands and local school organization commitments.

Table 1: Example Syllabus Plan

 time
 Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
 Thursday
 Friday
 9.00

10.30

School
Assembly
~~~~~
Mathematics
Spelling
Program
~~~~~
Mathematics
Science
~~~~~
Health
 Spelling
Program
~~~~~
Mathematics
 Class
Assembly
~~~~~
Mathematics
 10.45

12.15

 Physical
Education
~~~~~
English
 Science
~~~~~
Library
Appreciation
 Physical
Education
~~~~~
English
 Science
~~~~~
Technology
Applications
 Physical
Education
~~~~~
English
1.15

2.15

Studies of
Society and
Environment
 Languages Other Than
English
~~~~~
Drama
 Studies of
Society and
Environment
 Languages Other Than

English

~~~~~

Drama

 Studies of
Society and
Environment
2.25

3.30

Music
Art
Music
 Art
Sport

 

 

A stimulating introduction to the theme is very important for student participation. The initial experience should vary from regular class routine and set some goals or give a comprehensive overview of the topic. Some ideas are provided below for introducing this theme.

At the conclusion of the topic a similar introductory experience can be revisited to compare the students’ awareness. Do they see the venue with the same eyes? Can they identify similarities and differences? Can they transfer some of their understandings to the new situation? Do they generate new or challenging thoughts about the topic? Have they become involved in related or follow-up activities or themes for personal study? Have they met the aims and objectives? Has an ecological understanding given them a broader perspective?

INTRODUCTORY LESSON EXAMPLES

• Introduce the unit by going on an excursion to a local wildlife park, local reserve, ranger collective or museum to explore the landscapes, vegetation and wildlife.
• Read the picture storybook Edward the emu written by Sheena Knowles and illustrated by Rod Clement. Edward provides a perfect example of how little Australians value their own uniqueness. This value is replicated in our attitude to our own wildlife. Australians often yearn for foreign pets such as a cat or goldfish and fail to recognise the local sugar glider or galaxias, which is struggling to share their backyard or local park. This book can raise some of the essential questions to be answered in this theme, Why are our local Australian wildlife unique? Why are they overlooked? What benefits can accrue from encouraging local wildlife? Why value an Australian ecology? How can individuals make a difference?
• After some story discussion, ask students (in pairs or groups) to list their opinions about their own wildlife. What do they know of the local wildlife? What do they contribute to local wildlife and environmental support? Share the findings with the class. (Use these responses for assessment or review at the end of the theme.)
• Watch a section of the marsupial video / DVD from David Attenborough’s Life of mammals or a species study from the Life In Cold Blood series. (This can be broken into two half hours or less.) These lifestyles are very different to animals in other countries. What are some of the differences? How have the country’s history, landscape, climate and vegetation contributed to these differences?
• Arrange a talk by someone experienced in a range of perspectives on local wildlife: an ecologist, bird observer, a wildlife carer, a forensic expert, a scientist, a university student completing a local study, etc.
• Aim to establish a terrarium or aquarium to study the lives of some local wildlife. Students research the needs of the creatures and what will be involved in this enterprise. Be aware that a permits may be needed for keeping native wildlife; contact your state government environment department and local council.
THE ARTS

Possible outcomes:
• Drawing: Line: Blend a study of line with this unit – single, collective, straight, curved, arched, spiralled, zigzag, circular, crosshatched, thick, thin, broken, unbroken, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, composite.
• Cover a series of squares in different types of lines. Draw different wildlife shapes and then fill the shapes with patterns cut or torn from the squares.
• Copy the shapes and patterns of some local landscape features, local wildlife such as butterflies, snails, worms, or local vegetation: bark, flowers and leaves. Present the images as a life drawing, collage or mural.
• Prepare a papier mâché model of your creature.
• Prepare a mural or diorama of a habitat (the latter can be related to technology and science outcomes also).
• Make papier mâché or paper plate masks to complement the presentation of a play about your creature.
ENGLISH

• Present the study or unit material in hand-bound book.
• Design a cover for the unit publication. Think about layout and presentation; write a blurb explaining the work to others.
• Many words in this unit derived from foreign roots: Anglo-Saxon, Greek, Latin. Study some of the word origins and history of these words.
• Scientific words can be complex. Compare an ordinary dictionary with a botanical dictionary and learn how each can be used more effectively.
• Write an imaginary interview with your wildlife character. Express their views on habitat loss, feral species, pollution, some lifestyle disruptions they face, humans, water shortages, climate change, etc.
• After climbing a tree, falling into a creek or hiding under a bush you find yourself growing fur, a shell or feathers respectively. Write a letter to your family explaining what has happened, how your life has changed, and how they can rescue you.
• Transfer some of the issues you believe important for wildlife into a short play or skit.
• Spelling: a short term, alternative spelling program suitable for grades 3-6 is included with some sample word lists on environment and wildlife.
HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Wildlife work involves particular skills and a number of health and safety issues. To be prepared for the fieldwork, explore some of the areas below. Talks and trail walks with wildlife carers and rangers can support this area.

A. Risk Assessments and Reporting
• Weather extremes: check weather reports for storm or bushfire activity. How will weather and climate affect your wildlife studies?
• Landscape dangers: check dangers at the site such as falling branches, loose shale, overhanging rocks, flood zones

B. Health and Safety Issues
• Maintain environmental health: minimise vegetation and habitat damage, take litter home, keep to the track, maintain a low noise level and profile
• Retain personal health: carry sufficient water and food; use sunscreen; wear suitable outdoor clothes that cover head, arms and legs, and feet; stay on the track and within sight of the group; do not eat unknown plants; wear safety glasses in dense scrub; keep well back from banks and edges; maintain partner support
• Prevent the spread of infection: wash hands between handling individual animals; disinfect boots before and after walking through bushland (walk in a bleach bath); disinfect equipment
• Carry a first aid kit suitable for the risks in the area such as bites, rashes, scratches
• Learn how to treat a person with snake bite, heat exhaustion, a faint, a fit, or a broken leg in preparation for medical help
• Learn the procedures for obtaining medical help

C. Health and safety in small animal handling, and wildlife care
• Wash hands before and after handling wildlife; use gloves for biting animals
• Keep a first aid kit available
• Investigate some minimum care and safety requirements for particular wildlife such as birds, small native mammals, reptiles, fish, frogs, stick insects or other large invertebrates

D. Bushwalking and orienteering skills
• Determine the appropriate clothing and equipment needed
• Set teamwork as a priority
• Learn to use the sun, moon and stars for navigation, and equipment such as compasses and rope (the use of the Global Positioning System)
• Apply appropriate procedures for accidents and injuries or becoming lost

Other subjects a class can be involved in are the occupational health and safety issues involved in permaculture or the growing of bush tucker.

LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH

Experiences in this subject can include words involving
• Simple body parts, coverings and bones
• Movements and behaviour
• Names of local wildlife, vegetation or introduced species (see attached spelling lists)
• Writing a conversation between two animals or a simple play
• Constructing a 2D or 3D habitat, an animal or plant from a series of instructions
• Answering some simple questions about an animal or making a quiz for someone else
MATHEMATICS

Some activities on the following concepts would be useful for reading field books on wildlife and scientific recording and monitoring wildlife
• Measurement: Area (square millimetre to a kilometre), Length (millimetre, centimetre, metre, kilometre), Volume (millilitre, litre)
• Graphs on animal populations in student backyards, diets, animal sizes, surveys of attitudes to local wildlife
• Percentages
• Investigating a variety of presentation methods for mathematical information to an audience
• Presenting local wildlife statistics and information to a community group
SCIENCE

• Explain a functioning support system of a local animal and its importance (e.g. a food chain; a grassland; how nest hollows are formed from fungi, fire; a water system; how ants and butterflies use each other for mutual gains; a tree)
• Explain the advantages of an animal’s features for their lifestyle and habitat
• Identify some of the causes for a local species’ extinction or protection
• Describe some conservation strategies for locally endangered wildlife
• Present some feathers, feet, skulls or footprints of different creatures for students to identify. Why are these features different? What do they tell us about the creature?
STUDIES OF SOCIETY AND ENVIRONMENT

• Find out how your region evolved thousands of years ago. Which plants and animals were first to live in the area?
• Draw an ecosystem and show the areas your animal inhabits. Explain why these areas are important for the animal. Why doesn’t it use other areas of the ecosystem?
• Think of an animal that shares your home. Draw the habitat it uses and show how the animal contributes to the local ecological food chain.
• How are nest hollows formed, what wildlife use them, how important are they to native wildlife and how must they vary to meet different wildlife needs? What are some of the problems for wildlife? Does your area have sufficient for the local wildlife? How can people contribute to maintaining this habitat?
• Construct a calendar showing the events which impact on the local wildlife over a year.
• Write a diary of your day from the point of view of a local creature. Read the entries to an audience.
• Produce a board game, or nature trail with signage, on your house, the local reserve or your school’s ecological attractions and problems.
• Compile a list of myths that people have about wildlife in your region. How have these beliefs formed and how can they be corrected?
TECHNOLOGY

• Using photos prepare a reference work on some of the local wildlife
• On electronic equipment, explain the care needed for a local animal after bushfire
• Construct and test a three-dimensional example of an animal’s habitat
• Design a robot to replicate an essential wildlife service – pollination, nurturing, habitat or water cleaning, decomposition – and list the limitations
• Prepare a wildlife survey form for a young child to use on computer
CONCLUSION

These responses could be used for assessment at the end of the theme also.
• Revisit the original wildlife venue or DVD / video. How have your views changed? What have you learnt? How has this theme changed your opinions and behaviour?
• Revisit some of the questions and issues raised at the beginning of the theme: What opinions do the students have about the local wildlife now? How have those opinions changed since the beginning of the theme? What do they know of the local wildlife? What do they contribute to ecological conservation? How has their behaviour changed? Ask students to share their opinions in a group or with the class.
• Revisit the lifestyles of some different creatures on video. What factors make these lifestyles unique? What are some of their essential needs? If you were given one of these animals to care for what would you do for its welfare?
• Visit a different local wildlife venue. Write a report on the differences between this place and others you have known. Why do these differences exist? What are the advantages or disadvantages of these differences?
• Present your project experiences and findings to another class for information and review.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Syllabus Plan

A Three-week Syllabus Plan

An Assignment or Complementary Syllabus Plan

References and Resources

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