Science & Math
Unit Plan and Syllabus Examples
This Grade 9 Science unit plan is detailed, addresses all the curriculum outcomes, and provides a list of resources for each lesson. Also included is a worksheet to be used to assess prior knowledge at the beginning of the unit and to be revisited as the unit progresses.
This Grade 11 Math unit plan includes a suggested rubric for the unit project and a year plan from which the included unit is derived.
Both plans benefit from a focus both on teaching strategies and instructional differentiation.
An example syllabus for my second-year undergraduate course in Environmental Studies can be found here, along with a rubric for student writing assignments.
Lesson Plan Examples
This Grade 9 science lesson illustrates the use of an activity which visually represents the structure of an atom and which forms the basis of a week-long project on atomic structure and the periodic table which also involves internet research.
This Grade 7 science test review is based around the perennial class favourite of "Jeopardy". However, this review utilizes PowerPoint as the game medium in order to permit visuals which chalkboard versions of the game preclude or make difficult. Students thoroughly enjoy the digital version; I continue to use the templates for both Grade 9 and Grade 11 with much success, these later incarnations involving theme and incidental music.
When co-teaching a final-year undergraduate course on Aquatic Ecology, my lectures were delivered simultaneously to both the Fredericton and Saint John campuses of the University of New Brunswick by video/audio link. Here are my lectures on aquatic food webs (1 and 2) and my tutorial on how to give effective group presentations using PowerPoint.
Class Project Example
This water filter activity illustrates a Grade 7 science unit project. The project is a culminating activity which helps engage students while encouraging them to apply their knowledge in designing and evaluating their solution to a real-world problem. It is a popular project with many designs performing admirably, and many students soon become determined to construct the most efficient filter across the entire grade.
The following two unit tests are examples from Grade 7 science (Mixtures and Solutions) and Grade 9 science (Reproduction). The tests are quite different from one another, reflecting the different demands of the material, the ability levels of the students, and variety within an evaluation metric—e.g., the latter test also requires math skills, visual representation, and rewriting incorrect statements as part of the assessment.
An example of a final exam which I co-authored for the final-year undergraduate course on Aquatic Ecology is included here. An example midterm for my second-year undergraduate course in Environmental Studies can be found here.
Of the following handouts, one reflects the qualities of respect, cooperation, and responsibility (Assessing Group Performance) and is required reading for all the middle and high school classes I teach, and another is a prerequisite for all my science classes (Lab Safety Checklist).
This worksheet was created for a Grade 7 science class and forms the basis for a class discussion on water use and its implications for our supplies of drinking water both in Canada and worldwide. Finally, these three concept maps were created together as a class following instruction on a variety of study skills and prior to an end-of-unit test (Grade 7: see "Test Examples" section above or here).
I have always been passionate about the arts, especially the communicative power of music. My interests range from the writing and arranging of songs for solo performance or by creative collectives to music education and its use in second language environments.
Below is a selection of older original tunes recorded to 4-track cassette and then later converted to (lo-fi) MP3s. On occasion, friends contributed their poetry or provided spoken word performances.
The following two pieces were early experiments with digital instrumentation and sampling and were composed for a soundtrack to a documentary on environmental stewardship which I produced for the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association. A blog entry detailing the production of the complete work is available here.
For more of my music, please see my blog entries in the Ambience category, as well as throughout the sight // sound page.
Language Arts / Cross-Curricular
The activities in this section illustrate a variety of alternative pathways to learning. They have language arts as their primary focus while facilitating cross-curricular connections ("The Adventures of Trevor": geography, social studies, science; "Word Nerd": science).
Comic Book Project
The comic book activity (The Adventures of Trevor) was inspired by the work of Dr. Michael Bitz who suggested that such arts-based literacy initiatives help children actively and creatively build academic and life skills. By writing and drawing about their personal experiences and interests, students become engaged in the learning process and are increasingly motivated to succeed in reading and writing.
Science possesses a language peculiar to itself. These terms and expressions must be learned in order to communicate with one’s peers in such a specific environment. Word Nerd was created to assist students in learning scientific terms and how they are constructed. The activity links vocabulary from the New Brunswick Grade 8 science curriculum ("Water Systems on Earth" unit) with the study of affixes from Grade 8 language arts. Included is a self-evaluation rubric that I constructed to help focus the design and implementation of the game during its creation process.
My education experiences are not limited to the classroom. An indirect benefit of my years of science research has been the opportunity to travel to many different countries and environments and to work and communicate with a wide variety of people.
Before relocating to Vancouver Island, I was the Education Director at the (sadly, now defunct) Environment and Sustainable Development Research Centre (ESDRC) at the University of New Brunswick where I was responsible for the development and delivery of materials for and approaches to environmental education and community capacity building. In this role I worked closely with two community-based watershed groups—the Fredericton Area Watersheds Association (FAWA) and the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association (CWWA). Both these organizations help promote awareness and stewardship of local ecological habitats. Due to the small, but enthusiastic, number of staff at ESDRC, my roles were many: science consultant, graphic designer, author, film-maker, educator, team-member, and mediator.
Examples of my community projects are provided here (ESDRC press kit), here (presentation of FAWA's "CityScapes" and schoolyard habitat initiatives to New Brunswick School District 18), and here (CWWA video documentary). A blog entry detailing the creation of audio-visual resources for CWWA is also available.
For more information on recent projects and teaching activities, please see my blog entries in the "Projects" and "School" categories.