Lesson 5A: The Modern Era: Controversy and Strife

Lesson 5A: The Modern Era: Controversy and Strife             Grade level:   10-12     Time Length: Three class periods

Cross Curricular Component: 1C: Historical Context of Conservation; 1D: Consistent Issues; 2A: Influence; 3B: Conservationists, Preservationists and Capitalists; 6H: Climate Change

PDE Academic Standards:  1.1.11; 1.2.11; 1.4.11; 1.6.11; 4.2.12; 4.3.10/12; 4.8.12; 4.9.12; 5.1.12; 5.2.12; 5.3.12; 6.3.12; 8.1.12; 8.1.12; 8.2.12; 8.3.12;


–Students will examine and discuss the role of media in current issues

–Students will trace a change in attitude and urgency throughout the 20th century

–Students will utilize their knowledge to create an environmental advocacy plan/proposal



Seeking the Greatest Good

USDA Forest Service – The First Century


Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring:Chapters 1 and two http://books.google.com/books/reader?id=6sRtTjwwWYEC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&source=gbs_atb_hover&pg=GBS.PR20

Anticipatory Set:  (2min)      “Moment of Zen”       Discuss the quote as it relates to both students and the topic.

“By idolizing those whom we honor, we do a disservice to both them and to ourselves…we fail to recognize that                                                         we could go and do likewise.”                     -Charles V. Willie


–View Chapter V of Seeking the Greatest Good

–Have students research (or revisit) the multitude of laws and policies in the modern era (since 1950)

Have students also compare excerpts of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” with earlier attempts to use the media by Muir and Pinchot.  How is Carson’s work a both a sign of the times she was living in and a sign of a change in attitude?


EXTENSION Media activity – poll and platform comparison **It is strongly suggested that this activity coincide with Lesson 6H: Introduction to Climate Change

–Have students research the Earth’s temperature over the last 150 years as well as other facts relating to Global Warming and Climate Change.  Host a debate on whether human activity is the cause of the weather phenomena we have been experiencing.  Have them also research proposed solutions.

–Ask the students to correspond each solution and opinion to various political parties, comparing party platforms and opinion polls as they change over time.  Create a chart or graph illustrating these comparisons and changes

–Compare public opinion with the public political and media debate and find any correlations between the two.


Extension: Corner activity – research, choose – debate – re-choose  **It is strongly suggested that this activity coincide with Lesson 6H: Introduction to Climate Change

Based on their research, ask the students to sort themselves into a corner of the room – one that climate change exists but naturally, one that climate change exists due to man’s actions, one that climate change does not exist at all.

— Debate for a time and then allow the students to change their corner based on the first part of the debate

–In their new groups, have the students create their own proposals that may or may not involve government intervention and should include the most effective way to address these issues as they have learned from the film and the previous lessons.

–Have the class vote for their favorite proposal.  Some aspects of the winning proposal should include aspects the students can do at home, school, or advocate for in their community.  All effort should be made for the students to follow through with their chosen proposal.  Stress that they are the future of the conservation movement


Closure/Summary:            (3min)                            Answer the Key Questions

–Has the definition of “practical conservation” changed?  If so, how?  How does practical conservation fit within the context of the phrase “The greatest good for the greatest number in the long run”?

–Should what humans have done through industrialization be considered “progress” or “adaptation” or something else?

–Will we be able to live within our limits and safeguard the natural world in the decades ahead? Do human beings even have the ability to think bigger than themselves?


Evaluation: Students will be evaluated on the quality of their proposals, research and debate.

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