Part 3: Creating a Revised Stakeholder Map for Downstream Pollution in the Water Cycle


After experiencing the role-play activity in Part 2, the goal is to create a single stakeholder map for the entire class that reflects the collective and revised understanding of the wicked problem of downstream pollution.

Learning Goals

After completing the module, students will be able to:

  1. Locate and describe interactions between human and natural systems.
  2. Diagram key components of a complex system focused on water quality and identify different stakeholder perspectives or interests associated with water use.
  3. Explain how differing power dynamics among stakeholders creates conflict and the potential for social/environmental injustice.

Context for Use

This activity is Part 3 of a three-part module designed to cover approximately 1-2 weeks of class time, depending on how the module is implemented with respect to in-class and outside-of-class work. While the module designed with face-to-face interactions in mind, it can be adapted for remote learning, with various asynchronous and synchronous options. The module can be used in any undergraduate course, and can be tailored to the level of the students.

Description and Teaching Materials

The goal is to create a single stakeholder map with the entire class that reflects students' collective and revised understanding of the wicked problem based on the role-playing activity in Part 2.

Note that as in Part 1, the map can be completed using physical paper and markers, or a graphic mapping application, depending on instructor preferences and how the course is delivered.

Debrief Discussion Questions (also in the module overview):

  1. What changed in the map?
  2. What did you learn from taking a position as a stakeholder? About your stakeholder and others - and the links between them and the wicked problem?
  3. What is environmental justice and how is it related to the wicked problem?
  4. What are some new insights you have about the wicked problem?

Teaching Notes and Tips

Some faculty members had success using online team-based workspaces for this activity, such as MURAL.


The following rubric can be used to give feedback on the final map developed by the entire class.

References and Resources