Interdisciplinary – Service Learning, English language arts (ela) Curriculum
Using Wolf Education to Promote Common Core Standards
As citizens of the 21st century, our nation and world are at a crossroads when it comes to ensuring the future sustainability of our air, water, wild lands, and wildlife for future generations. Ultimately, our nation’s future relies on a well-educated public to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us – now and for future generations.
In response to this call to action, schools and their community partners are the responsible agents for preparing the next generation to meet these challenges. Our children must acquire an awareness about threats to our natural treasures, and they must be taught conservation literacy – learning about and actively caring for the environment, understanding how human beings interact with and are dependent on different ecosystems, and developing critical-thinking skills to solve problems that affect America’s public lands and wildlife. Awareness and literacy can empower children with a fund of knowledge and the specific skills they will need to compete, collaborate, and participate as educated agents of change in our society.
Wolf Conservation Center Becomes a Catalyst for Change with “Tracks to the Future”
In the short time since wolves were reintroduced to the American West, scientific research has confirmed that they have restored stability to ecosystems. Wolves were once federally protected, but now they can be hunted again, making their future more controversial than ever before. Although critically endangered subspecies of wolves remain federally protected, they also face unique challenges that impact their wild future. Despite the vast effort, resources and support invested in reintroduction, the future of the wolf and its proven benefits to ecosystems remain at risk.
In recognition of this crisis, the Wolf Conservation Center has become a catalyst for change among a new generation of stewards who can reverse this trend before it is too late. “Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Wolf Education: Tracks to the Future” partners with educators in the implementation of a unique unit of study that affords elementary and middle school students differentiated opportunities to learn and master many of the required common core academic standards in Language Arts, Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies and the Arts while using the theme of wolf conservation as its integrating theme.Its goals are to encourage students to pose and answer relevant questions about wolf recovery and conservation while they simultaneously acquire new knowledge, tools, and the critical thinking skills that they will need as life-long learners, in general.
“Tracks to the Future” is an academically robust, relevant, and innovative “living curriculum.” It emphasizes cooperative learning, research and project-based learning, critical thinking and discussion, hands-on activities, and integrated service learning opportunities. Students develop and practice leadership skills by working in teams, listening to and accepting diverse opinions, solving problems, considering the long-term view, promoting actions that serve the greater good, and connecting with the community to make a difference.
Runt Curriculum is a thematic unit of study designed to help students become better readers, writers, and thinkers. The unit revolves around Runt, written by Marion Dane Bauer, which portrays wolves’ place in the natural world and highlights an individual’s struggle to find their own niche. Students will be evaluated on guided reading participation and comprehension, written expressive skills via Comprehension Journal Assignments, expository writing, and oral communication skills, among other criteria. Students will reach out to prominent wolf conservation organizations like the Wolf Conservation Center in order to enhance their connection to the theme of the story and allow for further reflection upon issues regarding our country’s wild lands and wildlife.
The Runt Curriculum is suggested for students in grades 3 - 5 but can be applied to individuals of all ages.
Wolf Journal Curriculum
Wolf Journal Curriculum is a thematic unit of study that revolves around Wolf Journal, written by Brian A. Connolly, which weaves a story about endangered species, an endangered planet, and the human spirit that strives to understand and protect. Students will be evaluated on argument and descriptive writing, a research project, and reading comprehension, among other criteria. Students will reach out to prominent wolf conservation organizations like the Wolf Conservation Center in order to enhance their connection to the theme of the story and allow for further reflection upon issues regarding endangered species and endangered species policy.
The Wolf Journal Curriculum is suggested for students in grades 6 - 8 but can be applied to individuals of all ages.
While promoting broad academic achievement, Tracks to the Future has five guiding objectives:
- nurturing an understanding of the critical role that the environment plays in human survival and the sustainability of the earth’s resources
- fostering an understanding of the scientific and cultural principles that guide wildlife conservation in America
- teaching the value of predators, specifically wolves, as ecosystem managers
- providing authentic opportunities for students to exercise citizenship and demonstrate their knowledge by educating others and advocating for positive changes in policies that affect wolves
- increasing students’ awareness of the proactive role they can play in government to encourage change
Tomorrow's leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow's challenges. The Wolf Conservation Center has broken new ground by forging a commitment to help educate and motivate a literate generation of problem solvers and future decision-makers. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to engage student interest, Tracks to the Future offers an enriching way for both students and teachers to connect their appreciation of the natural world with academic learning and community service. We invite educators to consider joining the effort.
Please contact the WCC via email (email@example.com) or phone (914-763-2373) to purchase the curriculum.