Reflection: Homework The Tragedy of the Commons part 4: Discussion and Conclusions - Section 3: the Discussion


Prior to this discussion day, the group questions had been distributed to each group so they had a head start to think about the questions that would come up in the discussion.


I really don't like the idea of "surprising" students with questions on the day of the discussion.  I prefer they come prepared, knowing at least the foundation of where the discussion will go.  In the student work example attached to this reflection, students were asked to explain under what circumstances the fish could be considered a renewable or a nonrenewable resource.  It's clear that this group already had a good understanding of the basics of how a semi-renewable resource (especially a biological resource such as fish) can be exhausted through exploitation.  

This doesn't diminish the value of the discussion, however.  In this case, this particular group was able to offer their clear response to the question and cleared the way for a more detailed consideration of this topic.  In this case, another group made the case that fishing wasn't the only threat to fish populations, and that pollution (they used oil spills as their specific example) and other human activity could also determine the renewability of a resource.  


By introducing the basic concept of the Tragedy of the Commons in an engaging simulation and then reviewing the simulation in a discussion, students were able to connect their prior knowledge to the new concept.  In the course of this lesson sequence in general and the discussion in particular, a wide variety of conceptual connections served as a great introduction to a unit focused on the intersection between the physical and social sciences.

  Homework: Preparing for the Discussion
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The Tragedy of the Commons part 4: Discussion and Conclusions

Unit 2: The Nature of Environmental Science
Lesson 5 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to meaningfully reflect on the simulation and data analysis portions of the lesson sequence by participating in a class discussion.

Big Idea: In this final segment of the Tragedy of the Commons lesson sequence, a whole class discussion is held to consider the lessons learned during the investigation into the underlying problems that make environmental and economic regulation necessary.

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