Careers in the Great Outdoors

Format
Marika Schalla

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students explore careers related to outdoors and the land and then design and build a water filter prototype.

Summary

  • Students will learn about careers, and career pathways, that are related to the outdoors and the land
  • Students will use the design process to design and build a water filter prototype

Setting the Stage

There are many reasons why the land and being outdoors is important. Land-based education and outdoor education has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the many benefits for students and teachers. We can learn many new things outdoors that we would not be able to in the four walls of a classroom. Taking students outside lets students have a more authentic learning experience. Outdoor learning helps to build real-life connections to classroom learning. In Indigenous education, land-based learning is important as it increases physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. As well, land-based education helps Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students build appreciation and respect for the environment.

In this middle years lesson, students will build an appreciation towards the land, learn about career opportunities that primarily occur outdoors, and practice their design process skills. 

Materials & Preparation

  • In School
    • The outdoor learning component will need to take place on a day with appropriate weather
    • Paper and writing instrument (1 for each student)
    • Recycled pop bottles (1 L or 2L) (1 per pair of students)
    • Recycled cardboard scraps, aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, felt sheets, small sponges, rubber bands, 6-inch long pieces of string, other small recycled materials (enough to be available to all students)
    • Dirty water (such as water mixed with potting soil or dirt) (1 cup per pair of students)
  • At Home
    • Recycled pop bottles (1 L or 2L) (1 per student)
    • Recycled cardboard scraps, aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, felt sheets, small sponges, rubber bands, 6-inch long pieces of string, other small recycled materials
    • Dirty water (such as water mixed with potting soil or dirt) (1 cup per student)
    • At Home Outdoor Learning Activity Instructions Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Both
    • Outdoor Career Profiles Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
    • Water Quality Technician Challenge Reproducible (1 per student or pair of students) [Google Doc] [PDF] - provide as an e-copy

Note: The outdoor learning component will need to take place on a day with appropriate weather

What To Do

Activate: In School Outdoor Learning Activity 

  • Take students to a safe space outdoors, ideally in a green space. Have the students sit down in a circle.
  • Have the students close their eyes. Instruct the students to take slow, deep breaths in and out. Encourage students to focus on being a part of their surroundings and connecting with the outdoors.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning about careers that take place outdoors, but first they will think and talk about why the outdoors is important.
  • Pose questions such as:
    • “What can we learn from the outdoors?”
    • “Why is the land important?” 
  • Provide each student with a piece of paper and writing instrument and have them individually jot down their answers to these questions.
  • After each student has had the opportunity to write their answers, allow students who are interested to share their responses.
  • If students have not mentioned the reasons below, then share them yourself.
    • It can let us learn different things than we can learn within the four walls of a classroom,
    • It enables us to have an first-hand experience with the outside world,
    • It can help us connect school work and the real world
    • It can help with our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health
    • It can help reduces stress
    • It can help build appreciation and respect for the environment

Activate: At Home Outdoor Learning Activity 

  • Make sure students can access the At Home Outdoor Learning Activity Instructions Reproducible. Students will need to find a safe space where they can sit on the ground for a few minutes, ideally in a greenspace such as a yard or nearby park.
  • Have students answer the questions on the instruction sheet and be prepared to discuss their answers online.

Acquire: Outdoor Careers Exploration (In School and At Home)

  • Teachers could engage students in a brainstorm activity in which they list potential careers that take place outdoors. Record the responses in a place that students can view. 
  • Potential student responses may include:
  • Mining
  • Fishing
  • Farming
  • Tour Guide
  • Construction
  • Landscaping
  • Ecologist
  • Park naturalist
  • After the brainstorm session, using examples from the Let’s Talk Science Career Exploration resource site teachers should provide students with a list of career profiles of people whose work happens primarily outdoors. Teachers may wish to use the ready-to-use Outdoor Career Profiles reproducible.
  • Teachers could direct students to view a specific career profile, such as one of the ones on the Outdoor Careers Profiles reproducible. While going through the career profile, discuss the person's job sector, education pathway, subjects this job falls under, and what the person does at work. If time permits, go through the entire career profile.

Example: Heather Dover – Arborist 


https://letstalkscience.ca/careers/heather-dover

Job Sector: Architecture and Construction
Education Stream: High School/Direct to Work/Apprenticeship
Subjects: Biology, Ecosystems, Physics, Technology and Engineering
What Heather does at Work: “Arborists may work in a team environment, where communication is of the utmost importance. If you have a worker aloft, trimming or removing a tree, the ground workers need to be constantly aware of the activity at hand and act accordingly. Some Arborists may work alone, completing an inventory of trees in a woodlot for a client or potentially treating diseased trees with plant health care practices.”

Heather Dover career profile card
Career profile for Heather Dover
  • Using the list of outdoor careers provided, students will individually or in pairs choose one profile to review. They should identify why the person enjoys their job. They will find this information in either the “what you do at work” or in the “what motivates you” section. Have each student or student group report back to the whole class.

Apply: Water Quality Technician Challenge (In School and At Home)

  • Instruct students that they are going to pretend they work as Water Quality Technicians, which is a type of career that often takes place outdoors. 
  • Their task is to create a water filter that will be looking at the clarity of water, which means making water that looks clean and clear.

Safety First

Advise students that they will not be drinking their filtered water to test if it is clean. This is a good opportunity to remind students that they should never eat or drink anything in a science experiment. Filtering water once may not make it safe enough to drink. Boiling water is another step to destroying the bad bacteria and contaminants in the water.

  • Distribute the Water Quality Technician Challenge Reproducible to students.
  • Have students read the introduction and review the key terms that are bolded
    • If students are at school, go through the materials available for the students and review the procedure with the students.
    • If students are at home, an adult may need to assist the student in gathering suitable materials.
  • Students will be creating a water filter that must remove large dirt particles from the water. It is acceptable if the water still has a slight discoloration at the end of the filtration. The students are looking for water clarity and if the large particles are out of their water sample. The water filters must be able to hold half of the original volume of water at the bottom. Students are only allowed to use a maximum of five materials in their water filter. Not counting the plastic bottle, itself, or tape. This is to conserve resources.

In School

  • Working with a partner, students will draw a design of their water filters and label their materials in the diagram. Below the diagram students are provided with space in which to list the materials that they will need. Once they have their sketch and materials list complete, they may collect their needed materials from the teacher. The teacher should go over the sketch and give any feedback. The teacher should also ensure that each diagram is drawn and labelled appropriately.
  • After the teacher has reviewed and approved the design, students can start building their water filter prototype. Depending on the students, this could take around 10-20 minutes to complete. 
  • When they are finished building their water filter, the students will go to the teacher to obtain the dirty water and test their water filter. The teacher should pour about 60 ml (¼ cup) of the dirty water into the filter to test its ability to filter the water. If the filter is unsuccessful after the first test, the teacher should instruct students to go back and make modifications to their original design sketch. Time permitting, students can make additional modifications and re-test their filters. 
  • Once modifying and testing is finished, have students work on answering the conclusion questions.
  • To extend or alter this design and build inquiry, teachers could have students construct the water filters using naturally occurring materials such as rocks, sand, silt, wood chips, soil, and greenery. These natural materials could be compared to the recycled materials in their ability to filter the water. 

At Home

  • The students will first draw a design of the water filters and label their materials in the diagram. This could be drawn on paper and photographed, or could be drawn using an online drawing program. The drawing should be inserted into the space for the drawing on the first page of the Water Quality Technician Challenge reproducible.
  • Below the diagram is a space for the students to list the materials that will be needed.
  • Once the students have their sketch and materials list complete, they may collect their needed materials from around home. This may require assistance from an adult
  • Students should submit their sketches to the teacher for feedback. The teacher should ensure that each diagram is drawn and labelled appropriately.
  • After the teacher has reviewed and approved the design, students can start building their water filter prototype. 
  • When they are finished building their water filters, students should make some dirty water. This could be done by adding approximately one spoonful of dirt or soil to one cup of water.
  • Students will then pour about half of the dirty water into the filter to test its ability to filter the water. If the filter is unsuccessful after the first test, the teacher should instruct students to go back and make modifications to their original design sketch. Students should then make additional modifications and re-test their filters. 
  • Once modifying and testing is finished, have students work on answering the conclusion questions.
  • Students should complete the completed Water Quality Technician Challenge reproducible for assessment and evaluation.

 

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the work and contributions of Marika Schalla (Waabishkaanakwadikwe), Winnipeg School Division, in the development of this lesson.

Details

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Assessment

  • The Outdoor Learning activity could be used as a formative assessment. Teachers will be able to check student’s prior knowledge, look for their interests, and correct any misconceptions students may have.
  • The Water Quality Technician Challenge activity could be used as a form of summative assessment learning. On the worksheet there are parameters and expectations for each step, as well as a suggested marking scheme. As all questions are short answers and reflective pieces, how marks are allocated is at the teachers’ discretion.
     

Assessment

  • The Outdoor Learning activity could be used as a formative assessment. Teachers will be able to check student’s prior knowledge, look for their interests, and correct any misconceptions students may have.
  • The Water Quality Technician Challenge activity could be used as a form of summative assessment learning. On the worksheet there are parameters and expectations for each step, as well as a suggested marking scheme. As all questions are short answers and reflective pieces, how marks are allocated is at the teachers’ discretion.
     

Downloads

  • At Home Outdoor Learning Activity Instructions Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Outdoor Career Profiles Reproducible  [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Water Quality Technician Challenge Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]

Downloads

  • At Home Outdoor Learning Activity Instructions Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Outdoor Career Profiles Reproducible  [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Water Quality Technician Challenge Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]