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Socially-based Curriculum Units · Work Collaboratively – Solving an Environmental Problem


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Work Collaboratively – Solving an Environmental Problem

Socially-based Curriculum Unit

This unit, developed for CGC1D (Geography-Grade 9 Academic),  provides an in-depth, fictional environmental case study in which students play roles to represent different ‘stakeholders’ in order to solve an environmental problem.  This environmental problem takes place in the fictional town of Crookstown where it is becoming apparent that something is wrong with the water supply.  The town has a rural, agricultural area, a new subdivision being built, a chocolate factory, a golf course, sewage treatment plant and a garbage dump – all within town limits – as well as many other possible sources of water contamination. 

Students must debate in the form of a town hall meeting about the source of the problems and possible solutions to the problem.  The goal of this unit is to get students to work collaboratively when solving environmental problems and to understand the difficulties in coming to a resolution when everyone has a different ‘stake’ in the problem.  In this unit there is no right or wrong way to answer the problem and no one person/organization is entirely to blame.  The outcome of the town hall meeting will be class dependent.

Students are given a summary of the environmental situation, a map of the areas to set the context as well as an outline of the unique role that they will play (ex. farmer, factory worker).  Students will prepare their role (1 day – outline, discussion and research), conduct research into water contamination problems in Canada on the internet (1 day) take part in a town hall meeting (1-2 days) and follow-up class discussion (0.5 - 1 day), and write a reflection paper on what they have learned (1 day).  A debate and participation rubric are included with this unit.

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