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GIS at school Guidebook for biology, geograpy, and science teachers Warsaw 2011 This project was completed with the support granted by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway by means of co-financing from the
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GIS at school Guidebook for biology, geograpy, and science teachers Warsaw 2011 This project was completed with the support granted by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway by means of co-financing from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism as part of the Scholarship and Training Fund. GIS at school Guidebook for biology, geography, and science teachers Warsaw 2011 Editor: UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre Texts: UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre (dr Piotr Mikołajczyk, Monika Rusztecka, Elżbieta Wołoszyńska) EduGIS Academy experts (Witold Lenart, Ph.D., Anna Woźniak, Małgorzata Witecka) Teachers and methodology consultants from the EduGIS Working Group (Ewa Bryndza, Agnieszka Chrząstowska-Wachtel, Hanna Habera, Anna Janowska, Joanna Poręba-Kwiatkowska, Mirosława Rogala, Renata Sidoruk-Sołoducha) and Michał Krupiński, Earth Observation Team, Space Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences Graphic design, typesetting and text makeup: Elżbieta Królak Proof-reading: Ewa Garbowska UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre, 2011 Number of copies: 2500 ISBN: CONTENTS Introduction 5 Why should we teach geography and biology with the help of geoinformation technologies? 10 Witold Lenart, Ph.D., Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw; deputy director of the University Centre for Environmental Studies Student competences related to the use of GIS in the classroom 16 Monika Rusztecka, UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre Geoinformation sources (tools and data) available for teachers 19 Overview of geoinformation tools and data available to the teacher 20 Elżbieta Wołoszyńska, UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre Earth observation satellites as a valuable source of information about the planet. European Space Agency educational programs on the example of the ESA School Atlas 25 Michał Krupiński, Earth Observation Team, Space Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences Lesson scenarios (including a methodological commentary) prepared by the EduGIS Working Group 29 Problem Based Learning in the modern school 31 Elżbieta Wołoszyńska, UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre Lesson plan template with comments 33 Anna Woźniak, methodology consultant in biology Lesson scenarios 39 Brazil the country of rainforests and overpopulated cities 40 Mirosława Rogala, John Paul II Junior High School no. 1 in Sochaczew What determines the appearance of the cities of Europe and the world? 45 Joanna Poręba-Kwiatkowska, Jan Kochanowski High School Complex no. 6 in Radom, Radom Teacher Training Centre Analysis of socioeconomic differences in the development of the world with the use of GIS 49 Agnieszka Chrząstowska-Wachtel, John Paul II Family Alliance High School in Warsaw Population distribution in Poland 56 Mirosława Rogala, John Paul II Junior High School no. 1 in Sochaczew Floods in the Vistula River basin on the example of Wilków commune (Lublin Voivodeship) 61 Ewa Bryndza, Communications School Complex in Gliwice, Gliwice Didactic Centre 4 Features of Poland s terrain 66 Joanna Poręba-Kwiatkowska, Jan Kochanowski High School Complex no. 6 in Radom, Radom Teacher Training Centre Warsaw the natural environment. Did it determine spatial development of the city? 69 Agnieszka Chrząstowska-Wachtel, John Paul II Family Alliance High School in Warsaw Diversity of the natural environment of the Tatra National Park 75 Ewa Bryndza, Communications School Complex in Gliwice, Gliwice Didactic Centre What are the natural and cultural values of Puszcza Kozienicka (Kozienicka Forest) (a field trip project) 79 Hanna Habera, Mazovian Municipal Teacher Training Center, Radom Department Air a life-giving mixture of gasses or a poison that knows no borders? 84 Renata Sidoruk-Sołoducha, School complex no. 77, Bolesław Prus Junior High School no. 19 with bilingual classes in Warsaw Threats to biodiversity 89 Anna Janowska, Public Junior High School in Świerże Górne Getting familiar with biodiversity of the Middle Vistula Valley 93 Anna Janowska, Public Junior High School in Świerże Górne A large city nature reserve on the example of Kabacki Forest 97 Anna Woźniak, metholody consultant in biology Biodiversity on the example of trees and shrubs of Saska Kępa and your place of residence 103 Renata Sidoruk-Sołoducha, School complex no. 77, Bolesław Prus Junior High School no. 19 with bilingual classes in Warsaw Theory versus practice. A commentary on the biology lesson plans 107 Anna Woźniak, methodology consultant in biology Theory plans practice. A commentary on the geography lesson 112 Małgorzata Witecka, methodology consultant in geography, Computer Assisted Education and Information Technology Centre Monika Rusztecka, Piotr Mikołajczyk, Ph.D., UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre How to start an adventure with GIS? A few valuable tips and tricks. 119 Anna Woźniak, methodology consultant in biology Elżbieta Wołoszyńska, UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre Summary 125 School with GIS an opportunity for the student s development 126 Witold Lenart, Ph.D., Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw; deputy director of the University Centre for Environmental Studies EduGIS Academy in a nutshell 128 5 Introduction Introduction Dear Reader, On many occasions, you must have wondered how to enhance biology or geography lessons in the way that will not only make them more interesting for your students but also facilitate acquiring new knowledge and skills. With great pleasure we present to you this guidebook of using GIS by school teachers, in which you will find the answer to that question proposals for using geoinformation technologies (GIS) in geography, biology and environmental education classes. What does GIS mean? The acronym stands for Geographic Information Systems. It involves analyses of geographic data, the result of which is information, also called geoinformation. Simply put, geoinformation is information about the world saved in the digital format so it can be read later to determine the location and the characteristics (called attributes) of a specific object, e.g. a natural one. Geographic information is usually presented in the form of maps that show us the object or phenomenon: its type, extent, location, diversity, continuity, intensity and other properties. Modern media, especially the Internet, use geoinformation almost constantly, for example as satellite orthophotomaps showing the location and extent of various events (e.g. natural disasters), weather maps, maps with results of elections or other important events. Finally, we use geoinformation when we look for places where we d like to go on a trip, weekend, or holidays. In these situations we eagerly use information portals that allow us to track routes on a map and look at other people s travel reports. Both we, adults, and students are used to geoinformation even though we re not always aware that this specific form of information shown on maps is named that way. Geoinformation can be helpful for the teacher working with students. It makes it easier to understand processes occurring in the natural environment. It leads to seeking, determining and analyzing relationships between different elements of the natural environment and between the natural environment and societal and economic phenomena and processes. It teaches how to draw conclusions and look for causes of these phenomena. It is especially important when we try to show the students the non-trivial secrets of statistics, methods of analysis and presentation of quantitative data describing phenomena and processes occurring in real space. Using geoinformation was the main subject of the EduGIS Academy project carried out by the UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre from January 2010 to June 2011 together with experts, teachers and teaching methodology consultants coming from all over Poland who cooperated within the EduGIS Working Group. Experiences gained from this project as well as its major results are collected in this guidebook. The project was implemented in cooperation with teachers from Norway. Meetings of the Polish teachers with their colleagues from Gjøvik allowed for exchange of experiences and were the source of inspiration for both parties, resulting in increased competencies of all (both Polish and Norwegian) teachers with respect to teaching methods. 7 Introduction The Polish teachers ideas for lessons using geoinformation technologies were received with great interest by Norwegian students and were highly valued by the Norwegian teachers. Meeting of the EduGIS Working Group and the Norwegian teachers at the Gjøvik University (Norway) (source: UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre). From left: Elżbieta Wołoszyńska (UNEP/GRID-Warsaw), Rune Ødegård (Gjøvik University), Hanna Habera (Mazovian Municipal Teacher Training Center, Radom Department), Anna Janowska (Public Junior High School in Świerże Górne), Monika Rusztecka (UNEP/GRID-Warsaw), Trond Henriksen (Gjøvik High School), Magdalena Machinko-Nagrabecka (UNEP/GRID-Warsaw), Urszula Depczyk (Warsaw Centre of Educational Innovation and Training), Agnieszka Chrząstowska-Wachtel (John Paul II Family Alliance High School in Warsaw), Renata Sidoruk-Sołoducha (School complex no. 77, Bolesław Prus Junior High School no. 19 with bilingual classes in Warsaw), Ewa Bryndza (Communications School Complex in Gliwice; Gliwice Didactic Centre.), Sverre Stikbakke (Gjøvik University), Mirosława Rogala (John Paul II Junior High School no. 1 in Sochaczew.), Joanna Poręba-Kwiatkowska (Jan Kochanowski High School Complex no. 6 in Radom; Radom Teacher Training Centre), dr Witold Lenart (Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw; deputy director of the University Centre for Environmental Studies), Karsten Johansen (Gausdal High School) Training materials that were developed by the EduGIS Academy are available online at the project website: The For teachers tab includes supplementary material for this guidebook, including e.g.: student work sheets, review of online resources with GIS applications, data available to the stu- Being in Norway was very important to me. I appreciate and thank the Norwegian colleagues for such a well-prepared visit. We had the opportunity to see how Norwegian schools look like, how lessons are being conducted. Comparing curricula and textbooks was very interesting, too, as was the approach to teaching. I particularly liked the practical, utilitarian approach to teaching geography in Norwegian schools, which is very scarce in Poland. Problems with oil spills, landslides, avalanches excellent. Agnieszka Chrząstowska-Wachtel, John Paul II Family Alliance High School in Warsaw 8 Introduction dent and teacher, e-learning training courses, films about the EduGIS Working Group visit to Norway. These materials are available under the CC-BY-NC-ND Creative Commons license. It means, dear Reader, that you may share them with your students (Share-alike), under the following conditions: you ll acknowledge the author and owner of the work/material (condition of attribution BY); you ll use the work/material only for non-commercial purposes (non-commercial condition NC); you won t modify, change or use parts of the work/material (no derivatives condition ND). We kindly ask you to adhere to the provisions of this licence. Any changes, corrections or modifications of the materials, with respect to both their contents and format, including using only selected fragments of the scenarios during classes, require contacting the authors in order to obtain their permission. addresses of the authors can be found in the title section of each scenario. We hope that you ll be inspired by this guidebook and that it will help you implement geoinformation technologies in your classes. Special thanks At this point we would like to warmly thank all the people that made this publication possible. It is the collective work of the EduGIS Working Group: teachers and teaching methodology consultants, experts, and the team of the UNEP/GRID- Warsaw Centre. Special thanks are being extended to our friends from Norway. They showed us how much joy and satisfaction can be derived from working with students who consciously and wisely use geoinformation technologies. They also drew our attention to the importance of the selection of appropriate lesson topics, that is including issues close to the student s heart. It might concern the most valuable natural resources, environmental assets, or potential problems and threats resulting either from natural environmental processes or from unwise human activity. Monika Rusztecka Elżbieta Wołoszyńska UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre We dedicate this guidebook to the students themselves. We hold great faith in the modern youth. We hope that their involvement and commitment, combined with the desire to broaden their knowledge and skills and supported by the great work of the teachers, will shape the future society responsible for its environment and understanding the need to preserve natural resources for future generations. 9 Why should we teach geography and biology with the help of geoinformation technologies? Why should we teach geography and biology with the help of geoinformation technologies? Why should we teach geography and biology with the help of geoinformation technologies? Witold Lenart, Ph.D., Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw; deputy director of the University Centre for Environmental Studies Geography and biology are sciences that derive the biggest amount of information from the surrounding world. This world, despite the fact that it constantly changes, still changes at a slower pace than the rising need for environmental information. Gathered by (or with the involvement of) a huge number of observers, interpreters and measuring tools, the databases are still lacking they become outdated too quickly, or inaccurate enough to leave a margin for subjective prognoses and interpolations. Let the clearest proof of this be our current efforts to collect data on areas potentially exposed to flooding. Available topographic maps with terrain elevations that can be read with accuracy of tens of centimeters are not enough. We need information better by an order of magnitude. We need information in the scale of thickness of a sandbag. Another situation, clearly showing such a need, is the hurried process of completing the information about animate natural resources within the NATURA 2000 areas. We have set up this network and now we should know very well what types of economic activity are possible there, given the overriding need of protecting the taxa and ecosystems. In both cases it is necessary to collect and organize the wealth of already existing information, supplementing it with first-hand data, and creating information systems suitable to be used both on the national and local scales such as the smallest river basins, habitats, or wildlife refuges. In both cases there is a very important requirement the necessity to collect and share the data so it could be constantly improved and made more detailed to keep up with changes in the environment, including its anthropogenic transformations. Let s notice the basic feedback loop the more information, and thus the more accurate decisions made with the help of this information, the more pressing becomes the need to include in the data packages even the smallest changes in environmental trends. After all, we have to control the changes that we cause, consciously or not. Just the above could be an important argument for a wider introduction of geoinformation in schools, just as no one doubts the need for IT education in general. The question arises what segment of geoinformation, especially with respect to the basics of methodology, should be taught in the school? It is obvious that only a small and rather constant share, given the amazing progress in this emerging scientific field. However, it is worth noting that computer sciences, increasingly popular school. in their practical application use more and more examples related to geoinformation which integrates knowledge, brings up the issue of decision-making, and is rich in content. Let s focus on a computer system designed to process and analyze geographic (spatial) information GIS (Geographical Information Systems). In the school setting, the 11 Why should we teach geography and biology with the help of geoinformation technologies? meaning of this term is somewhat different than the operational meaning. The goal of education is, in every case, achieving the desired level of knowledge and formation of certain attitudes in the student. In the industrial, operational, sense, there is a need for operational efficiency and accessibility. This discrimination is, in the case of GIS, particularly important and could be compared, perhaps with some exaggeration, to controversies caused by the declared needs in the field of environmental (e.g. waste management) or automotive (traffic safety) education. Simply said, the school education and upbringing does not explicitly include any package of operational goals, and ICT and GIS technologies usually confine themselves to such purposes. Fortunately, it only makes it hard but not entirely impossible to use these tools in formal education. In discussions on this topic, which is an eternal dilemma of the school, the focus should be on teaching GIS not only as a simple tool but also utilize it for other purposes. Geographic Information Systems, in the technological context, are a combination of elements of remote sensing and photo interpretation, computer cartography, computer systems supporting the design and planning, databases and monitoring systems, and finally, in the broad sense, information and communication technologies (ICT). In middle and high schools there is no chance to familiarize the students with the rapidly growing number of computer programs. However, there is a rising need to understand the possibilities of using GIS in learning about the world and identifying the increasingly complex environmental problems. Here we are faced with an inevitable contradiction: the student does not have any opportunity to obtain theoretical knowledge on the basics of GIS, but should see how GIS techniques are being used. It is a known dilemma, similar to the one experienced for a long time in the cases of photography, medicine, or computers. It is important, however, to introduce to the schools a couple of modified approaches that will help, or even make possible, the use of GIS. The basic question is the description of location. In contemporary schools, in both geography and biology lessons, the simplest methods of localization are being used usually topological, with the help of known landmarks, areas or trails. Even the geographical names are used more sparingly than this. Let s put it clearly it s the worst possible introduction to the GIS world. It is much better to use, even simple, local coordinates. Of course we assume that the use of geographic coordinates, the universal system of location description (flat, but also spherical coordinates), should grow. It should also be made easier thanks to the recent fast familiarization of the young people with GPS navigation. It is necessary to increase the number of opportunities for the student to see the origin and contents of the databases. The best method is to create local, school and students spatial data resources. This way they could be analyzed, even if in a simple way. Despite concerns, a well-executed school program allows for a quick use of such analyses as opportunities to increase the knowledge about both the topic and the tool itself. Basics of statistics, cartography and knowledge of natural processes listed in the official school curriculum although they belong to the more difficult topics are sufficient. 12 Why should we teach geography and biology with the help of geoinformation technologies? Anoth
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