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Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Role-Play Exercise
http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/roleplaying/examples/34147.html

K.M. Theissen, University of St. Thomas, Pedagogy in Action Collection from SERC

In this role-play activity, students take the roles of various important players in the climate change policy debate including politicians, scientists, environmentalists, and industry representatives. Working in these roles, students must take a position, debate with others, and then vote on legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Can be used in a variety of courses including writing and rhetoric, and social sciences.

Activity takes two 2-hour class periods.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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man activities are impacting the climate system
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Energy Literacy

Access to energy resources affects quality of life.
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7.5 Access to energy affects quality of life.
Some populations are more vulnerable to impacts of energy choices than others.
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7.6 Vulnerable populations.
The quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices.
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Energy affects quality of life .
Decisions concerning the use of energy resources are made at many levels.
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5.1 Energy decisions are made at many levels.
Energy decisions are influenced by social factors.
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5.7 Social Factors.
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Energy decisions are influenced by several factors.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:C) Political and economic systems
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C) Political and economic systems.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:D) Global Connections
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D) Global Connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:A) Identifying and investigating issues
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A) Identifying and investigating issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:B) Sorting out the consequences of issues
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B) Sorting out the consequences of issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
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C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:D) Working with flexibility, creativity, and openness
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D) Working with flexibility, creativity, and openness.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:C) Planning and taking action
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C) Planning and taking action.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Activity should be done at the end of a unit on climate change, after students have learned some of the science behind the issue.
  • See tips provided by the developer in the activity sheet.
  • It might be interesting to collaborate with a politics/government studies class when doing this activity, with each group being a mixture of students from both classes.
  • The convention can be made more realistic with a simple PowerPoint described in activity sheet.
  • Link for Stern Report referred to in activity is: http://www.ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20061104_stern.pdf

About the Science

  • Uses Copenhagen Diagnosis 2009 to engage students in role-play discussion of climate change.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The activity's strength is that it does provide a real-world setting for understanding the complexity on climate change mitigation as a policy issue. It's a great choice for K-12 and early undergraduate courses. However, there's a mismatch between the activity and the goals. The IPPC report would be a better choice for the science than the Copenhagen Diagnosis and Stern Report. This is true for content and also for authority, which is especially relevant for this activity.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students explore roles that may challenge their personal feelings or beliefs; helps bring into focus the complexity of global energy issues and politics.
  • A rubric and teaching notes are included for the instructor.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The assignment handout is well-written and clear, and includes assessment information.
  • To run a "good convention" a lot of preparation is required of the instructor.

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