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Students engage in a role playing activity to explore the importance of the tropical rainforest to the planet , the forces that threaten the loss of rainforest habitat, the consequences of that loss, and the possible responses.
Groups of students investigate and then represent nine different perspectives on the future of a hypothetical stand of rainforest. The groups must then reach consensus in the form of a common declaration on how the remaining pieces of the once majestic forest will be managed.
The simulation allows students to practice those skills associated with articulating a positon on an issue, promoting and defending that position, and negotiating with others in the interest of that position.
The issue of tropical deforestation is both critical and complex and the simulation is an effective way for students to understand the perspectives that must be addressed if positive change is to occur. Role playing has the added advantage of helpting students to better internalize that understanding.
The script for the simulation is clear and complete and the materials required easily available.
A number of changes may strengthen the resource
The resource may be used
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
Students are divided into 9 groups (indigenous peoples, state government, logging and agricultural interest, tourist industry, etc.) each of which has an interest in rain forest development. In playing the roles assigned, students are to articulate their particular interests and to pursue strategies that further ther interests.
The group descriptions included in the resource run the risk of dividing the stake holders into villians and victims and students might be encouraged to conduct further research to determine the accuracy of the descriptions provided.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The various atakeholders identified in the role playing exercise collectively represent the spectrum of perspectives that are common in analyzing an issue through the lens of sustainable devlopment.
The economic interests are clearly represented by Burgerbeef Inc., and Tree Co.; the environmental by Forestwatch. The Latasican government sees rainforest development as helping to relieve urban poverty.The Nordian government must balance its determination to collect foreign debt with the pressures exercted at home by environmental groups. Medico PLC's needs to conserve the rainforest in order to develop those drugs that will save lives and produce profits. The Kapano tribe's traditional culture and economic well being is threatened by development.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
In playing their assigned roles, students will come to recognize the competing perspectives at work and the difficulty in finding a path that will reconcile these views. Any suggestion that a particular policy be adopted will be measured against the effect it will have on the other players/stakeholders.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
The debrief that follows the conclusion of the game offers an opportunity for students to reflect on and discuss what may be done to meet the challenges raised by the simulation and who may be expected to do what is required.
If teachers wish to encourage student consideration of what they might do, they can refer them to a number of Internet sites like WWF that do include suggestions for possible action.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
|Values Education||Very Good|
In trying to represent the role assigned to them and in seeking a direction that would check the destruction of the rainforest, students must consider what weight to assign to economic considerations such as creating jobs, reducing poverty and corporate responsibility. How important is it to conserve unique habitats and the plants and animals that live there? What obligations do we have to protect and preserve traditional lifestyles? Should one set of values trump all others? Is there a priority of values?
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
Part of the debrief asks people to reflect on how they feel about the the 'local people' (Kapano Tribe, Resettled People). How are they affected by the exploitation of the rainforest? What did those working in the forest think about the people living there?
Such an exercise may be expected to raise the student understanding of the plight of these people and to promote a greater sense of empathy for their situation.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Good|
While there is no outdoor component to the simulation, attention is paid to the critical role of the rainforest ecosystem. The loss of habitat and the species dependent on that habitat, the role of rainforest as home to the many foodstuffs that have become part of our diet and to the drugs that have become critical to our well being is noted, as is the part played by the rainforest in addressing the problem of climate change.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Poor/Not considered|
While not part of the resource, the teacher may choose to have students explore the state of Canada's rainforest.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The resource recognizes the role played by tropical rainforest in the past (home to indigenious peoples, a multitude of plant and animal species, and many of the foodstuffs found on our tables); the current challenges (logging, agricultural and beef farming, mining); and the catastrophic future (continued loss of rainforest) unless we adopt a more sustainable development approach.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
As in most simulations Timber provides a framework in which students explore a particular issue. The students become active participants, examining the forces at play, the options available, and choosing what response to make. While the roles assigned may shape the positions taken, the ending is for the students to write.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
'Timber' is a case study in sustainable development and thefore must take an integrated approach. The exploitation of the rainforest is driven in part by the desire to create jobs, to reduce poverty, to realize profits (Economics). In pursuing these goals, habitat and the plants and animals dependent on that habitat disappear, carbon sinks are lost and more carbon is released into the atmosphere (Environmental Science). A traditional life style is treatened and people are moved from urban to rural settings (Geography, Social Studies/Science). Once made aware, student response to these developements requires they consider their responsibility (Citizendip Education).
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
'Timber' defines the paramaters for student investigation-what are the causes of tropical rainforest deforestation? what are the consequences of that deforestation? and what can be done to move towards more sustainable development of the rainforest.
The role playing component of the simulation allows students to explore each of these questions, to recognize the complexity of the issue, the competing perspectives involved, and the difficulty of finding a sustainable path.
Students who have used the resource note that it makes them more aware of the people involved and helped to fix the issue in their minds more effectively than a lecture would.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
In playing their roles, students have an opportunity to "try" their talents at researchng, at articulating and defending a particular position, and at negotiating an aggreement among competing interests.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
'Timber' has the advantages that are part of well constructed simulations. As one of the students involved in the testing remarked, "It was more effective to do it this way than to try to lecture us because ... active participation helps fix the idea in your mind more than listening."
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
In carrying out the simulation students are divided into 9 groups representing the spectrum of interests involved in the rainforest. To effectively represent their group students must work together to understand and articulate the position of their group.
Students also emerge with a better understanding of the perspective of the other groups involved as they listen to and negotiate with the students charged with representing those groups.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
The resource allows for formative evaluation as the teacher observes how well students, individually or collectively, understand and are able to articulate the interests of the group they represent.
Summative evaluation occurs at the conclusion of the simulation when students are asked to get out of their roles, move away from their group and reflect, in a teacher guided discussion, upon their experience .
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
The simulation is designed so that learning occurs as a result of the interacton among the student as they play out their assigned roles. Students begin to appreciate the complexity of the issue and the competing perspectives as they listen to and negotiate with other students.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
"Timber' attempts to replicate something of the debate that surrounds current activity in the tropical rainforest of Brazil but the forces at play and the consequences of that activity are representative of the unsustainable development that characterizes other tropical rainforest.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Good|
The resource provdes a framework for student exploration of the fate of tropical rainforest but it is the students who determine the direction of the activity and it is the students working in groups who decide who will do what to advance the interest of that group.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|