Biodiversity Basics: An Educators Guide to Exploring the Web of Life

Biodiversity Basics: An Educators Guide to Exploring the Web of Life

by Judy Braus

Editorial Reviews

Instructional guides and curriculum supports for environmental education come and go, often to stimulate or maintain our concern with conserving Earth's resources. Windows on the Wild is a comprehensive, practical, and scholarly package that makes a teacher's work easier. The professionalism and pancontinental involvement of the World Wildlife Fund shows its strengths. The topic is biodiversity: the variety of life on our planet. Think "web of life" to illuminate the subject. The target audience is grades 7-9, however much of the material will work with younger and older students. This book is not intended for adoption as a curriculum, which is usually a tedious chore, aiming at satisfying local school system administrations. The book is suitable for single lessons, units, interdisciplinary planning, or as a course of study. Familiar teaching strategies it advocates are building on prior experiences, innovative assessments, group learning, problem solving, and experiential learning. Four overlapping themes are education, community action, sustainability, and creating a sense of wonder. The activities can be for individuals, small groups, a whole class, or even home study. A needed caveat is for the teacher to carefully appraise and plan his or her ideas before encouraging students to become activists. Left unbridled or unchanneled, student zeal can lead to unsavory confrontations with adults, businesses, or politicians. Historic and modern field study techniques are used. The guide identifies various subjects, skills used, vocabulary words, time needed, materials, and connections to other activities. The assessments are detailed and involve higher level thinking skills rather thanobjective testing. Grading, however, is still left to the teacher, who will love the guide's organization, utility, and resources mentioned. The book would be a welcome aid for a new teacher or an instructor who is assigned to teach a course in a field other than his or her own. Few textbooks will match this guide. Anyone in need of help to initiate, sustain, or augment an environmental education program should at least considering using Windows on the Wild. Highly Recommended, Grades 5-12. REVIEWER: Dr. John R. Pancella (retired, Montgomery County Public Schools)

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Acorn Group, The
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8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

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