Jurassic Park Debate
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
This exercise brings together the past (dinosaurs) and the future (cloning). Students must consider:
- The behavior, physiology, and ecology of dinosaurs
- Cloning technology
- Ethical ramifications of the whole project
This project will help students develop important skills:
- Research and writing
- Public speaking and argumentation
- Working in groups
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The student will be representing scientists on the "for" or "against" side of a debate on whether or not to clone dinosaurs.
There should be about four to six basic roles (depending on class size), with representatives for both sides.
- Essential roles include geneticists, paleontologists, and ecologists.
- Other roles could include physiologists, environmental scientists (focused on modern environmental problems) and ecologists can be split into modern ecologists and paleoecologists.
- In a small class, you can have one for each side. In a large class, have students share roles and work in groups to research their positions.
- Have the students choose their roles randomly from a hat.
Send the students to do some initial research in the first week of the project.
- The authors chose to collect useful resources and put them on reserve or on a web page for students.
The students representing each side should meet and coordinate their arguments
The debate itself consists of each student group (all of the people representing one side in a small class or all of the people playing one role in a large class) getting up and presenting their material. Every role gets about five minutes and other students get to ask specialists questions.
Teaching Notes and Tips
- An individual 2-page summary of the character's main arguments, due the day of the presentation
- The presentation given by the group