Who's Coming to Dinner?

Carrie Helgeson Nelms, University of Arkansas Main Campus
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Use a metaphor of planning and executing a dinner party to illustrate what happens when a coastal hazard displaces people to a new area. Divide class into two groups; host and displaced. Then role play example of coastal intrusion causing displacement and the economic, social and political issues that arise from both sides. Have both groups discuss which side has more injustice from the disaster caused from climate change issues.

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Learning Goals

Content/concepts goals

Higher order thinking skills goals
Students will be able to develop a proactive approach after evaluating both sides to the environmental in-just social issue associated with coastal hazards or any other climate change event.

Other skills goals
The outcome of this activity is for students to present their point of view of injustice depending on the side they will be representing and in the end of this exercise compose a letter to whom they feel would be impacted the most to change policy.

Context for Use

Type and level of course
I use this in my 3983 Environmental Communication class to define the issues occurring from climate change. Then have students present their perspective of injustice from the host and from the displaced point of view. Conclude to suggestions of what can be changed for future environmental equilibrium ie letter to senator, town hall meetings etc.

Skills and concepts students should have mastered
Audience centered approach when presenting and they will research climate issues from their own state to present from their perspective that impacts both the host and the displaced i.e. drought in Texas; sea-level displacement in Arkansas, etc

How the activity is situated in the course
It is part of a sequence of exercises to help explain the environmental injustices due to climate change issues.

Description and Teaching Materials

Look Who's Coming to Dinner? (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.4MB May19 15)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Students will be evaluated on their audience centered approach in their presentation of which side they are representing and on their letter to an editor, town hall meeting, congress man, etc.

References and Resources