UBC Undergraduate Research

Ecological literacy in Riley Park : Community accessible lesson plans for elementary school aged children Cao, Shuhong; MacDonald, Kelley; Marohn, Samantha; Zhang, Xianyu

Abstract

Situated in Vancouver, BC, Riley Park serves as an educational resource for community members on local ecology, geography, biodiversity, and human history. The park can be used by local community members to develop an understanding of ecosystem biodiversity and showcase the effects of climate change on the natural world. Through educating young community members aged 6-12, this project helps to develop a profound, long-lasting connection to ecological concepts using Riley Park as a familiar example for children. A total of four, 60 minute lesson plans were constructed on the topics of climate change and biodiversity that each consist of discussion, activity, and wrap-up sections. These lesson plans were designed to first be used in the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House 2021 Spring Break Camp with the flexibility to use them beyond this program. By limiting the materials and background knowledge necessary to conduct the lessons, the lesson plans were made to be accessible for as many community members as possible. To enhance the quality of the relationship between young community members and the natural world, research into psychologically and experimentally proven methods of education was conducted to determine the most effective means of constructing educational plans. Four major elements of environmental education were identified as: avoiding eco-anxiety, maintaining a positive perspective on the field of science, ensuring engagement, and incorporating active learning strategies. These were referenced throughout the construction of appropriate learning objectives, lessons, activities, and evaluation techniques. These elements, in conjunction with reference to the BC curriculum guide, strengthened the effectiveness of the plans we established for use in the Riley Park spring break learning program and beyond.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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