Nakusp Secondary School SD#10 Arrow Lakes

I. General Information

School Name: Nakusp Secondary School

School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes

Inquiry Team Members: Julia Flesaker:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Case Study

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Secondary (8-12)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Science

Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Flexible learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Using science fiction to teach concepts and improve scientific literacy.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: My students requested a paleobiology unit and expressed an interest in dinosaurs. To encourage their interests and engage in meaningful learning, we used the novel “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton as a study of science. A major focus of the course Science for Citizens is scientific literacy and separating fact from fiction, which this novel provides ample opportunity.

Focus: I wanted to get students excited about science. I was hoping that students would end up with the drive to explore science topics on their own and inspire wonder after getting an introduction to an exciting topic.

Hunch: Students don’t have a lot of exposure to science, as we are primarily a trades-based community. Most of the students’ exposure to science is in school, or through fiction or film.

New Professional Learning: I completed paleobiology and paleography through the University of Alberta courses – Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology and Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles. I read the novel “Jurassic Park” and utilized the “Jurassic Park Field Notebook” developed by Learning is Not Quiet. I read literature on using science fiction in classrooms.

Taking Action: I created lessons to connect with the field notebook topics, and found or made relevant labs. There is a lot of Life Science curriculum potential. Students were engaged and interested in learning about relevant biology topics through dinosaurs.

Checking: My class had improved attendance. Students read ahead in the novel. Students initiated their own research questions. Students participated in class. It was a wonderful experience for a Science for Citizens class!

Reflections/Advice: I plan to continue with the field guide model, but change it to better match the high school curriculum. I’d like to expand the unit into ice-age animals. The Jurassic Park novel contains a lot of theoretical math, and I would love to delve into these ideas in a broad way.