In this challenge, students are helped to better understand environmental concerns facing Canada and other countries by trying to propose a solution to a selected problem. Begin by asking the class what concerns they think Canadians have about their environment. Suggestions may include air pollution, cutting forests, recycling or garbage disposal, and clean water sources. Create a list and invite students to add to it over the next few days as they talk with others and look at newspapers, television, the Internet, videos or books. Indicate that other countries may have similar concerns and that the class will look at Tunisia, Peru, India and Ukraine to see if these countries share any of Canada's environmental concerns.
Depending on your students' research skills and the availability of resources, you may want to assemble images, texts, videos and bookmarked Internet sites for students to research independently or with a partner. Alternatively, it may be advisable to prepare a fact sheet with basic information about environmental challenges in the five countries. In particular, focus students' attention on the nature of the problems and their causes.
Once students have acquired background information on a number of concerns, assign groups of students to focus on a particular problem and to propose several solutions. You may want to model an example with the whole class before sending them to work on their own concern. If students are able to grasp the notion of advantages and disadvantages, invite them to consider the pros and cons of each solution. Suggest various criteria for students to use when thinking of possible advantages and disadvantages:
- Will it cost a lot of money?
- Will it stop people from doing things they need to do?
- Is it something that people can do?
- Will it fix the problem for a long time?
- Will it solve the problem in more than one country?
You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Investigating a Problem (Support Material) to structure this activity.
When students have selected their recommended solution from the list of possible solutions, arrange for them to present their proposal to the class.