Environmental Classroom Learning Stories

We wanted to ensure that the key concepts and student learning outcomes in the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future can be used in Alberta classrooms, and add value to classroom teaching and learning.  The answer is YES.

ACEE is thrilled to share these thirteen powerful learning stories that use the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future

These authentic learning stories are the exception, though - we need to ensure that ALL students have opportunities to become literate around environment, energy and climate change.

A BIG thank you to the school divisions and teachers that willingly shared their classroom learning stories via video and included a detailed Project Overview.

Thank you to Deb Rougeau-Bell who supported and worked with the teachers on this initiative. 

Grade 4 - We are the Earth: Connecting to Earth

Grayson Adams, Glenbow School, Rocky View Schools

Every Tuesday afternoon, the grade 4 students went outside to explore, connect and make meaning from our Earth. Students were immersed in a combination of planned activities and free exploration time. They understand that to care about a sustainable future, we must first love and care about our planet.

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Grades 2, 3, 4 - The Weed Lake Project: How can we connect and contribute to our environment?

Chelsey Merkel, Sarah Thompson School, Rocky View Schools

This cross-curricular inquiry centred on Weed Lake and how the students in grades 2 to 4 could connect to their environment. From their visits and work with experts, they shared their learning by creating a Wikipedia page on the species of Weed Lake. They wanted to protect and care for Weed Lake so they posted a sign at Weed Lake with the QR code link to their Wikipedia page.

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Grades 5, 6 - What about a Forest? Exploring forest ecosystems, management issues and developing my own understanding

Kim Kendal, Banded Peak School, Rocky View Schools

In teaching the grade 6 science unit "Trees and Forests", three combined Grade 5 and 6 classes developed a deeper understanding of the effects of clear-cutting on forest ecosystems. They learned about the many voices and importance of voice by interpreting the stories and perspectives behind clear-cutting. They also understood our role in this process from our demand for wood and paper products.

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Grade 8 - Bow River Watershed Inquiry - taking action on water quality

Janelle Phillips, Mitford School, Rocky View Schools

In this project, grade 8 science students explored their local watershed and inquired about their responsibility to the downstream users of the Bow River. The students became scientists and experts by using indicators to examine the quality of different water sources along the Bow River. The students understood the roles of various stakeholders and they weighed the pros and cons of various water use practices and their impacts on the watershed. To culminate the project, the students developed action plans to help ensure high level water quality for future generations.

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Biology 20 - Urban Architecture, Urban Agriculture Inquiry

Lynn Moore, Cochrane High School, Rocky View Schools

Students used design thinking and connecting with experts to design a green architecture project that would be self-sustaining in terms of matter cycles and energy flow through soil and food webs. They explore the social and ecosystem services provided by their green architecture innovation.

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Grade 4 - People for Energy and Environmental Literacy (P.E.E.L.) Project

Cayley Webber and Christine Avey, Westmount Charter School

People for Energy and Environmental Literacy (P.E.E.L.) project educates grade 4 students about current energy and environmental trends in Alberta through a collaborative approach and interaction with experts in the field. We brought in experts worked in our outdoor classroom and went on field trips. This provided students with the understanding, knowledge, key concepts and big picture to conduct an energy audit and make practical changes in our school and within their circles of influence. Students considered different forms of energy through the lens of maintaining balance of the triple bottom line: people, the environment and the economy.

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Biology 20 - Wind in the Willows - Ranch Reclamation Project

Stephanie Bennett, Cochrane High School, Rocky View Schools

This Project was part of the Bio 20 Unit A, B and C of the Alberta curriculum: learning about energy flow, nutrient cycling, photosynthesis and ecosystem structure. This Ranch Reclamation Project deals with all four of these themes with a hands on Reclamation application project.  Civic responsibility was embedded in the project as the students worked with a local Riparian expert to support a local rancher in a spring and fall project to reclaim the banks of the Grand Valley creek by planting willows.

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Oil Sands Inquiry - creating their own opinions from first-hand experience

Elizabeth Lahl, Langdon School, Grade 9 (social studies, science and language arts)

This year long inquiry revolved around the inquiry question: “Are the oil sands sustainable for all Albertans?”

Through in-class research, class discussions and meeting with different stakeholders, students explored their ideas and perspectives on the Alberta Oil Sands. Students became aware that decisions made regarding the oil sands have a multitude of impacts on a variety of areas of life (health, politics, environment, rights, first nations etc.).

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Grade 4 - Alberta Feral Horses Inquiry - making informed land-use choices and creating community awareness

Grayson Adams, Glenbow School, Rocky View Schools

This year long inquiry into Alberta Feral Horses focused on land-use management and how to make informed choices for the future of our province after hearing from multiple perspectives. Students heard from a variety of experts and gathered and examined research. They formed their own opinions of the issues and used poetry, visual art at a community event at the public library. 

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Grade 1 - Where Did our Food come From?

Barb Hazenveld, Westmount School, Foothills School Division

Grade 1 students in Westmount School  learned about their ‘Community in the Past’ in Social Studies.  Students explored  the pioneers need to grow their own food, and the question: How did the Pioneers grow their food?  This was a project-based learning with the initial inquiry of pioneer food growing skills.  

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Grade 8 - Biodiversity Inquiry - citizen science to understand local biodiversity

Nancy Pollard, Manachaban School, Rocky View Schools

This Grade 8 class used Project Wild (Wisdom Inquiry Learning Doing) for many experiential outdoor environmental education activities. The project overview and videos showcase two of these activities - students engaging in citizen science by collecting biodiversity data for the Cochrane Ecological Institute and the Swift Fox enclosure; and then learning about invasive species and participating in a Weed Pull at Cochrane Ranch.

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Grade 1, 2 - Growing Our Own Food

Kaeli Benoit, Alpenglow School, Canadian Rockies Public Schools

Grade 1 and 2 students explore where their food comes from and experience planting, growing, observing, harvesting, cooking and eating the foods they grew. Students made stone soup, apple juice and ground their own flour to make bread. 

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Grade 9 - Creating a Land-Use Framework using Alberta Tomorrow

Christine Crane, Westmount School, Foothills School Division

Grade 9 students creating their own land-use framework for Okotoks and area as various stakeholder groups. The students gathered information from a variety of sources and used AlbertaTomorrow.ca to help create their land-use plan. The students presented their final plan to an expert in land-use management. The work will continue as we create a longitudinal study over time. 

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