HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Character Education

Division 2: Grades 4 - 6

Below are discussion questions and activities to foster caring and compassion for animals, people, and the environment. Both the discussion questions and activities are part of the ‘Caring Community’ character education theme for the 2020-2021 school year! To see other character building themes, click here!

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you agree that ‘caring for others’ is community? Why or why not? What else ‘makes community’?
  • Who is part of your community? Are animals part of your community? Why or why not?
  • Do you think animals play an important role in communities? Why or why not?
  • Who is responsible to care for pets? Farm animals? Wild animals?
  • Give some examples of how you care for others, animals, and the environment? (What are the similarities in how we care for other living things and the environment?)
  • How does caring about other people help your community? How does caring about animals help your community? How does caring about the environment help your community?
  • Who are some famous people who have improved their community? Examples could include: Louise McKinney, Jane Goodall, Terry Fox

Activities:

1. Caring Community Members

Caring communities include individuals that care for other people, animals
and the environment. People such as veterinarians, animal protection officers, and farriers are members of the community that care for animals as part of their job! As a class, watch the video “Valour’s Story” (4:30).

  • Post Video Discussion Questions
    • What are the three careers mentioned in the video?
    • How do people in these careers make a difference in their community?
    • In the video, Peace Officer Stevenson says “I feel these horses fought for themselves, I feel I was the voice for these horses”. What do you think she means by this?
    • What interests, skills, and knowledge do you think Peace Officer Stevenson has that helps her do her job? (animals, helping animals and people, compassionate and empathetic, registered veterinary tech.)

Using the Personal Interests, Skills and Knowledge activity sheet, have students think about their own interests, skills and knowledge. Have students pick potential occupations that would fit their interests, skills and knowledge and describe how each occupation helps their community.

EXTENSION: Reach out to a community member who makes a difference in their community for animals, people or the environment (veterinarian, nurse, fish and wildlife officer, etc.) Ask if they would be willing to answer a few questions virtually via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype. As a class, brainstorm interview questions, prior to the interview.

2. Protecting our Parks

Provincial and national parks play an important role in our communities. They sustain Alberta’s natural environment by ensuring the land remains relatively untouched, which helps plants and wildlife thrive in their natural environment. People benefit from these protected parks by having a place for relaxation, recreation and exploration. Without these parks and recreation areas being protected, they could be developed which can result in habitat being destroyed. Ask your students:

  • What are the consequences of destroying habitats? How would this impact people, animals, and the environment?
  • Whose responsibility should it be to preserve these parks?
  • What can we do to ensure these parks stay protected?

Have students research different threats and challenges provincial and national parks face and what we can do to help stop these threats and challenges. Have students write a persuasive paragraph, design a pamphlet or create a short video on why it is important to care about, and what we can do to help preserve provincial parks, national parks and protected areas in Alberta.

Additional Information for Student Research:

3. The Famous Five

Louise McKinney, was part of the Famous Five that changed the course of history in
Canada by starting a petition that lead to the ruling that women were included as ‘persons’ under the law. This gave most women the right to vote, and paved the way for gender equality. As a class watch the video “How 5 Woman Changed Canada Forever Over a Cup of Tea” (2:45).

Louise McKinney, who cared deeply for animals, also brought the humane movement to Canada encouraging the need for humane societies and bands of mercy (kindness clubs). McKinney also recognized the needless extravagance of using bird feathers in hats for decorative purposes and wanted to reduce the use of animals wherever possible. Individually, have students research Louise McKinney and how her caring for others, including animals, impacted the world we live in today. Students can write a short paragraph or create a poster to demonstrate their findings

ALTERNATIVE: Students could choose another member of the Famous Five to research. What contribution have they made towards a more caring community?

To read more about Louise McKinney’s role in humane education, click here.

Curriculum

Health and Life Skills
  • Learning Life Choices
    • Students will use resources effectively to manage and explore life roles and career opportunities and challenges
    • Life Roles and Career Development: Students will
      • L-4.5 relate personal interests to various occupations
Social Studies
  • 4.1 Alberta: A Sense of the Land
    • General Outcome
      • Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how elements of physical geography, climate, geology and paleontology are integral to the landscapes and environment of Alberta.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will
        • 4.1.1 value Alberta’s physical geography and natural environment:
          • appreciate the environmental significance of national and provincial parks and protected areas in Alberta
          • demonstrate care and concern for the environment through their choices and actions
        • 4.1.2 examine, critically, the physical geography of Alberta by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and issues:
          • How are Alberta’s provincial parks and protected areas and the national parks in Alberta important to the sustainability of Alberta’s natural environment?
        • 4.1.4 analyze how Albertans interact with their environment by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and issues:
          • Whose responsibility should it be to ensure the preservation of national parks, provincial parks and protected areas in Alberta?
Health and Life Skills
  • Learning Life Choices
    • Students will use resources effectively to manage and explore life roles and career opportunities and challenges
    • Life Roles and Career Development: Students will
      • L-5.5 relate personal skills to various occupations
Social Studies
  • 5.1 Physical Geography of Canada
    • General Outcome
      • Students will demonstrate an understanding of how the physical and natural resources of Canada affect the quality of life of all Canadians.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will
        • 5.1.1 value Canada’s physical geography and natural environment
          • appreciate the environmental significance of national parks and protected areas in Canada
          • demonstrate care and concern for the environment through their choices and actions
        • 5.1.2 examine, critically, the physical geography of Canada by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and issues:
          • How are Canada’s national parks and protected areas important to the sustainability of Canada’s natural environment?
        • 5.1.3 analyze how people in Canada interact with the environment by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and issues:
          • Whose responsibility should it be to ensure the preservation of Canada’s national parks and protected areas?
  • 5.3 Canada: Shaping an Identity
    • General Outcome
      • Student will demonstrate an understanding of the events and factors that have changed the ways of life in Canada over time and appreciate the impact of these changes on citizenship and identity.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will
        • 5.3.3 assess, critically, how the Famous Five brought about change in Canada by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and issues:
          • Who were the Famous Five?
          • How did the changes brought on by their actions affect individual rights in Canada?
Health and Life Skills
  • Learning Life Choices
    • Students will use resources effectively to manage and explore life roles and career opportunities and challenges
    • Life Roles and Career Development: Students will
      • L-6.5 relate knowledge, skills and attitudes of a successful students to those of successful workers
Social Studies
  • 6.1 Citizens Participating in Decision Making
    • General Outcome
      • Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the dynamic relationship bewteen governments and citizens as they engage in the democratic process.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will
        • 6.1.1 recognize how individuals and governments interact and bring about change within their local and national communities:
          • recognize the influence of historical events and legislation on democratic making in Canada
          • value citizens’ participation in a democratic society

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