PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Students and teachers work with community experts to investigate how forest use has, is, and could positively impact local communities, guided by the overarching question “How can we use forests to positively impact local communities?”  

Students define a local region and invite community contacts and partners to collaboratively explore the history of forest use and ownership in their region, investigate current forest use, and imagine ways local communities have, are, and could use forests to impact financial, social/cultural and ecological dimensions of their regions.  

Students collect qualitative and quantitative learning to communicate past, present, and future perspectives on forest use and its impact on local communities.

In May, students present to a community audience.

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

IMG_2672.JPG.jpg

UNIT ONE

Understand 

Local Communities

Build context to understand the connections between ourselves, natural resources, and our local community. 

UNIT TWO

Generate Ideas

 Prototype Solutions

Use design thinking and the rapid prototype process to develop solutions to challenges identified in communities.

IMG_0774.JPG.jpg
File_001.jpg

UNIT THREE

Analyze & Communicate 

Solutions

Investigate the impact of solutions

and report findings to a community audience.

.

 
 
Unit 1 OVERVIEW

Students explore the concept of historical and present community identity. They investigate how experiences and our environment, specifically our forests, contribute to the shaping of our collective identities. Students think about community through their own personal lens and dig into family and community connections. Through these lenses, students explore the cultural dimension of what it means to be from a particular region, and what challenges their communities face. From there, students work collaboratively with teachers and community partners to explore potential resources that can help students on their journey toward understanding local forest use and its impacts on the community to gain a firm understanding of impact from the context of economic, social, and environmental use.  Students learn how to collect qualitative and quantitative data and create a strategy for doing so in their community.  From the qualitative and quantitative data, students create an ArcGIS base map of local resources to help reflect on their own community and the challenges that the community faces.  The end product of this unit is a poster titled “What’s the Story of Our Community?” which is presented by students to a group of their peers from across the State at the fall MFC Student Cohort Day.

Student Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • Articulate a personal connection to the local natural resource economy, markets, and ecosystems.

  • Investigate complex issues facing forests, drawing upon a wide range of community resources both in and out of school.

  • Investigate emerging industries, technologies, and innovation.

  • Collaborate with other students, natural resource practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and other community resources to apply available information to their understanding of natural resource management.

Process outcomes

  • Using real-world data to back up claims and counterclaims.

  • Recognizing and making connections across multiple disciplines and learned information.

  • Communicate findings with well-developed claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases. (CCSS.ELA - Literacy.W.11 - 12.1.b).

Guiding Principles

  • Become a self-directed and lifelong learner who recognizes the need for quality natural resource information and knowledge from many different sources.

  • Become a clear and effective communicator who applies advocacy skills, including research, argumentation, and presentation skills.

  • Become a creative and practical problem solver who applies goal setting and problem-solving skills in novel situations in collaboration with other students, natural resource practitioners, research, policymakers, and other community resources.

  • Become an integrative and informed thinking who gains and applies knowledge across natural resource disciplines and sources with and without technology.

 
Unit 2 OVERVIEW

Students learn about design thinking and rapid prototyping as a method to solve challenges by first developing empathy for the individuals affected by the challenge.  Students begin this process during unit one while investigating their communities. They use this information to identify challenges in their communities, then select one challenge for which they wish to investigate further and develop a solution.  Design teams are created to provide expert advice to students throughout the unit.  A clear prototyping process is used to create a solution, test solutions to make improvements and run through this process several times.  By the end of this unit students have solutions prototyped and ready to present to their design teams and the MFC student cohort.

STUDENT OUTCOMES

Project outcomes

  1. Investigate complex issues facing forests, drawing upon a wide range of community resources both in and out of school.

  2. Investigate emerging industries, technologies, and innovation.

  3. Collaborate with other students, natural resource practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and other community resources to apply available information to their understanding of natural resource management.

  4. Use a design process to create a solution to a challenge in a natural resource context based on application of current, adopted, or new technology.

Process outcomes

  1. Problem solving with a variety of strategies based on information available.

  2. Recognizing and making connections across multiple disciplines and learned information.

  3. Creating and using multiple representations to organize, record, and communicate solutions to complex issues facing natural resources and natural resource economies.

Guiding Principles

  1. Become a self-directed and lifelong learner who recognizes the need for quality natural resource information and knowledge from many different sources.

  2. Become a responsible and involved citizen who applies leadership skills to contemporary issues facing natural resource industries.

  3. Become a clear and effective communicator who applies advocacy skills, including research, argumentation, and presentation skills.

  4. Become a creative and practical problem solver who applies goal setting and problem-solving skills in novel situations in collaboration with other students, natural resource practitioners, research, policymakers, and other community resources.

  5. Become an integrative and informed thinker who gains and applies knowledge across natural resource disciplines and sources with and without technology.

 
Unit 3 OVERVIEW

In this unit, students investigate the impact of their solution.  They circle back to the guiding question for this project: How can we use natural resources to positively impact local communities? to assess the economic, environmental, and social impacts of their proposed solutions. Students identify connections between the economic, environmental, and social/cultural impacts of their solutions and engage in analysis and research concerning the solutions. Finally, they synthesize their results and present their findings to a public audience. 

STUDENT OUTCOMES

Project outcomes

  1. Investigate complex issues facing forests, drawing upon a wide range of community resources both in and out of school.

  2. Investigate emerging industries, technologies, and innovation.

  3. Collaborate with other students, natural resource practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and other community resources to apply available information to their understanding of natural resource management.

  4. Understand and analyze the impacts of technology use on both the user and the targeted resource as it relates to the sustainability of both.

Process outcomes

  1. Recognizing and making connections across multiple disciplines and learned information.

  2. Communicating findings with well-developed claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases. (CCSS.ELA - Literacy.W.11 - 12.1.b).

  3. Using real-world data to back up claims and counterclaims.

Guiding Principles

  1. Become a self-directed and lifelong learner who recognizes the need for quality natural resource information and knowledge from many different sources.

  2. Become a responsible and involved citizen who applies leadership skills to contemporary issues facing natural resource industries.

  3. Become a clear and effective communicator who applies advocacy skills, including research, argumentation, and presentation skills.

  4. Become a creative and practical problem solver who applies goal setting and problem-solving skills in novel situations in collaboration with other students, natural resource practitioners, research, policymakers, and other community resources.

  5. Become an integrative and informed thinker who gains and applies knowledge across natural resource disciplines and sources with and without technology.