Environmental Science Conservation Classroom Debate
Students will become more aware of the ecologic, cultural, economic, political, and ethical arguments for and against dam construction in an area such as Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
While the Hetch Hetchy case study is unique in some respects, it has a great deal in common with many other case studies that can be used to illustrate the complexity of environmental challenges which involve a growing population, increased water demand by urban and suburban areas, water use for irrigating agricultural areas, and the preservation of natural areas.
The purpose of this activity is to re-decide whether or not to construct a dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. Students will represent one of the following six interest groups in a reenactment of the Hetch Hetchy debate, which took place in the early 1900s, with 1910-1913 involving intense discussion on whether or not a dam should be constructed at this site.
Included with this NGSS
Aligned resource are:
♻️ Interest Group and Debate background information
♻️ Student Objectives and Instructions
♻️ A Student Guide to Classroom Debate
♻️ Debate Planning Organizer
♻️ Comprehensive Debate Grading Rubric
♻️ Group Work Self-Evaluation Rubric
♻️ Group Debate Evaluation/Feedback Form
Classroom debate activities give students with verbal, social, and auditory learning styles an opportunity to engage with content in a way that is more comfortable than working solely on paper.
By adding a note-taking or written reflection component to your debate activity, you can help not only support your visual learners but build in an extra layer of student accountability. This also gives students something tangible to take with them from the activity as a reference for future classwork; everybody wins.
Ideally, classroom debate activities improve engagement by tapping into a wide range of learning styles and driving up student interest. Use in your classroom today and watch the student engagement and achievement grow!
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Created by Erica Martucci, ©️ Science Interactive World 2017