Reflection: Diverse Entry Points Preserving Biodiversity: Threats and Solutions - Section 3: Direct Instruction


I remember as a high school student in the mid 90s having teachers that would occasionally make references to President Nixon and thinking, "why is this old fossil of a teacher bringing up ancient history?"  Sure, I knew about the Watergate scandal, but any references to Nixon's policies and worldview went way over my head. 

I realize in reflection on this lesson that, essentially, I've done the same thing my "fossil" teachers used to do by including a picture of President George Bush Sr. from 1992 and assuming that students understood the dynamics of that race. 

Suffice to say that most students didn't know anything about the first President Bush apart form the fact that he is the second President Bush's father.  As hard as it is for me to wrap my head around, my students (aged 16 - 18) were in elementary school when President Obama was elected, so their grasp of the different political attitudes towards the environment held by the Republican and Democratic parties is abstract at best. 

Now, if you've been following my curriculum thus far, you may have guessed that I hold a fairly liberal worldview, and I would proudly declare myself guilty as charged.  However, my goal as a teacher has never been to "preach" my worldview as dogma, but rather to present multiple sides to an issue and encourage students to come to their own conclusions.  Believe it or not, I tend to leave my own opinion out of the discussion unless students specifically ask me to share, and when I do so, I make certain to explain my reasoning including any merits in the opposing view. 

The point in mentioning all of this is that our students' perceptions of politics may not be as entrenched as adults that reflexively see either the Democrats or the Republicans as the heroes or villains on the environment depending, of course, on their own party of choice.  So, I mention this as a point of hope: if the generation comprised of our current students can come to a consensus on the need to protect the environment, regardless of party affiliation, then we are building a future of hope rather than despair. 

Although I show the first half of the following video (the half that deals with the Deep Horizon Oil Spill) directly preceding the final exam for the course, it may be interesting to show it during this lesson because of the example of an elected "conservative" Republican that speaks passionately about his attempts to protect his constituents by protecting the environment of his state:

  Ancient History
  Diverse Entry Points: Ancient History
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Preserving Biodiversity: Threats and Solutions

Unit 6: Biodiversity
Lesson 2 of 9

Objective: Students will be able to explain the reasons that biodiversity is threatened by human activity as well as describe multiple ways that concerned individuals and organizations are taking steps to preserve biodiversity.

Big Idea: Human activity threatens our cohabitant species on Earth. Balancing the needs of humans with the needs of other species will require creativity and cooperation on multiple fronts.

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