Connecting Biology to September 18th (and Indian residential schools) in a first year class.

BC Rainforest Biology CollageStudents in Biology 121 spend about one-third of the term learning about, and discussing ecosystems, ecological communities and interactions. They also practice thinking critically and making predictions about the many effects that can result from the disruption of a single factor in a community.

In the upcoming 2013 Fall term, students in one section of BIOL121 will be challenged to apply the same type of reasoning to a different kind of ecosystem: not a forest subjected to logging, not a beach after an oil spill, but a First Nations community (with its rich biological and ecological knowledge) disrupted by residential schools.

This activity, as well as some of the resources prepared by the IRSI team, will serve as a springboard to create a space for all class members to share thoughts and questions about this difficult topic. It will also illustrate how the same general framework can help us think critically about two seemingly disparate subjects, and should provide some context in preparation for the Truth and Reconciliation events that will take place at UBC on September 18th. After participating in an event of their choice on September 18, class members will reflect on how the event affected them and will share something they have learned as part of an in-class conversation.