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Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Role-Play Exercise
https://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/roleplaying/examples/34147.html

K.M. Theissen, University of St. Thomas, Pedagogy in Action Collection from SERC

In this role-play activity, students take the roles of various important players in the climate change policy negotiation including politicians, scientists, environmentalists, and industry representatives. Working in these roles, students must take a position, debate with others, and then vote on legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Can be used in a variety of courses including writing and rhetoric, and social sciences.

Activity takes two 2-hour class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 3 Performance Expectations, 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 4 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate

Energy Literacy

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7.3 Environmental quality.
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7.5 Access to energy affects quality of life.
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7.6 Vulnerable populations.
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5.1 Energy decisions are made at many levels.
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5.4 Economic factors.
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5.5 Political factors.
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5.6 Environmental factors.
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5.7 Social Factors.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:C) Political and economic systems
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C) Political and economic systems.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:D) Global Connections
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D) Global Connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:A) Identifying and investigating issues
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A) Identifying and investigating issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:B) Sorting out the consequences of issues
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B) Sorting out the consequences of issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
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C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:D) Working with flexibility, creativity, and openness
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D) Working with flexibility, creativity, and openness.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:C) Planning and taking action
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C) Planning and taking action.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Activity should be done at the end of a unit on climate change, after students have learned some of the science behind the issue.
  • See tips provided by the developer in the activity sheet.
  • It might be interesting to collaborate with a politics/government studies class when doing this activity, with each group being a mixture of students from both classes.
  • The convention can be made more realistic with a simple PowerPoint described in activity sheet.
  • Link for Stern Report referred to in activity is: http://www.ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20061104_stern.pdf

About the Science

  • Uses Copenhagen Diagnosis 2009 to engage students in role-play discussion of climate change.
  • To stay up-to-date on the science, educators can use summaries from the most recent IPCC reports instead of the 2009 report in the activity.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The activity's strength is that it does provide a real-world setting for understanding the complexity on climate change mitigation as a policy issue. It's a great choice for K-12 and early undergraduate courses. However, there's a mismatch between the activity and the goals. The IPPC report would be a better choice for the science than the Copenhagen Diagnosis and Stern Report. This is true for content and also for authority, which is especially relevant for this activity.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students explore roles that may challenge their personal feelings or beliefs; helps bring into focus the complexity of global energy issues and politics.
  • Educators are cautioned to steer away from denial-type debate about the existence of climate change. Strive for discussions that allow perspectives to be aired, while facts and evidence remain as the basis for decision-making.
  • A rubric and teaching notes are included for the instructor.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The assignment handout is well-written and clear, and includes assessment information.
  • To run a "good convention" a lot of preparation is required of the instructor.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:


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