HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Character Education

Division 3: Grades 7+

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’? What are ways that you can contribute to a caring community?
  • Do you think animals play a vital role in communities? Why or why not?
  • How has society changed the way we think of an care for animals? The environment?
  • What does an inclusive community mean to you? What are ways that we can make our communities more inclusive?
  • What are some current challenges facing your community?
  • What are some challenges associated with caring for animals? The environment?
  • What are some careers that positively impact animals, people, or the environment?

Activities:

1. Caring Careers

There are many careers that focus on caring for animals, people and the environment. Veterinarians, animal protection officers, and farriers are just a few examples of different c at are dedicated to animals. 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, Alberta SPCA 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?

Individually, have students pick a career that interests them. Have students research the career, specifically paying attention to the following questions:

  • What are some characteristics of an individuals who would likely choose this career? Do you have any of these characteristics?
  • What are some rewards and challenges that would come with this career?
  • What are the steps one has to take to pursue this career (schooling, credentials, experience, etc.)?
  • In what ways does this career contribute to the community?

Using their research, have students create interview questions they could ask someone with experience in that career. Have students interview (virtually) an individual with experience in the career to help gain further insight.

Screenshot from "Living with Wildlife"

2. Living with Wildlife

Cohabiting with wildlife is a reality for Albertans whether they live in rural or urban Alberta. Living with wildlife presents challenges for people and animals (domestic and wild) living in those communities. Crows and squirrels getting into garbage, coyotes and wolves encroaching on cities and towns, and bears impacting ranching are all examples of challenges communities in Alberta face. As a class watch the videos “Living with Wildlife” (23:18) and “Sharing the Range” (14:23), two documentaries showcasing what two communities (urban and rural) in Alberta are doing to peacefully co-exist with wildlife.

  • Post Video Discussion Questions
    • What are the challenges both communities face cohabiting with wildlife?
    • What solutions did the communities come up with?
    • How effective do you think these solutions are?
    • How do the solutions impact the people of both communities?
    • How do the solutions impact the wildlife of both communities?
    • What are some consequences that could happen to people and wildlife if precautions are not taken? People/domestic animals could get injured, wildlife could get euthanizes, wildlife population could decline (negatively impacts ecosystem).

As a class, brainstorm a list of challenges your community faces with cohabiting with wildlife (coyotes in the community, birds nesting in eavestroughs, bats roosting on garages, animals getting into garbage, etc.). Have students pick a challenge and come up with a solution! What can be done in the community to make cohabiting with wildlife safer for animals and people? Students can present their solution in the format of their choosing.

Additional Information for Student Research

3. Animals Caring for People

While it is our responsibility to care for animals, it can be argued that animals also care for us, and in some cases it’s their job! As a class, watch the video “2017 ASPCA Dog of the Year” (3:48).

  • Post Video Discussion Questions
    • Why does Jessica require a service dog?
    • What are some ways Rescue helps Jessica?
    • How would you describe the relationship between Jessica, Patrick, and Rescue?
    • What other animals can be service animals?

Rescue is a service dog trained to help Jessica learn hot to live her new life as a double amputee. Other types of jobs animals can have include working (search and rescue, explosive detection, etc.), therapy, and emotional support animals. Individually, have students pick an animal job to research to identify a clear definition of what
the job is, what it entails, how it differs from the other types, and how one goes about accessing one of these services if needed. Have students compare their finding with a classmate who picked a different type of animal job.

EXTENSION: Have students research guidelines for meeting a service dog in public. Students can create a poster or pamphlet that illustrates the work service dogs do, including the dos and don’ts of interacting with a service dog.

Additional Information of Service Animals

Screenshot from "2017 ASPCA Dog of the Year"

Curriculum

Grade 7
  • Wellness Choices
    • Students will make responsible informed choices to maintain health and to promote safety for self and others.
    • Safety and Responsibility: Students will
      • W-7.10 identify and examine potential sources of physical/emotional/social support
  • 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-7.6 examine factors that may influence future life role/education/career plans
Grade 8
  • Wellness Choices
    • Students will make responsible informed choices to maintain health and to promote safety for self and others.
    • Safety and Responsibility: Students will
      • W-8.10 develop strategies to effectively access health information and health services in the community
  • 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-8.6 investigate, interpret and evaluate career information and opportunities using a variety of sources
Grade 9
  • 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-9.6 develop strategies to deal with transitional experiences: e.g., create a learning plan for transitioning to senior high school, keeping future career plans in mind
        •  
Grade 7
Grade 8
Grade 9

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