Role play: clearing the hills
This activity provides opportunities for students to explore how social factors and the applications of science are connected. Students use a role play to explore how social factors impact on catchment management decisions. They also formulate and evaluate options for the effective resolution of conflict.
Science and Society
5.3 Students analyse the relationship between social attitudes and decisions about the applications of science.
6.3 Students use scientific concepts to evaluate the costs and benefits of applications of science (including agricultural and industrial practices).
Earth and Beyond
4.3 Students summarise information to compare ways in which different communities use resources from the earth and beyond.
6.3 Students argue a position regarding stewardship of the earth and beyond, and consider the implications of using renewable and non-renewable resources.
- role cards - see Resource Sheet 10 - Role play: clearing the hills (PDF, 457K)*
Prepare role cards, each with a description of one of the 12 characters in the role-play. The thirteenth character is the chairperson of the meeting. The teacher may take this role or allocate it to a student.
Other people’s views
Some students have difficulty in appreciating the range of different perspectives that are held by various stakeholders in a catchment. An activity may be required to allow students to focus on the different viewpoints before beginning the role-play activity.
If students experience frustration or anger arising from the role play, it is important that these feelings are discussed and analysed by the class before the end of the lesson. Students should also discuss how they felt when they were playing their particular role.
The classroom should be set up to simulate a community meeting.
Time: 60 minutes
- developing options
- expressing points of view
The teacher will introduce the role-play scenario to students (Resource Sheet 10). Twelve students are chosen to play particular roles and the role cards are distributed. Working with a partner, each chosen student spends about 10 minutes developing his or her role and deciding on a character name.
The chairperson should then begin the meeting. The rest of the class act as observers and do not contribute at this stage. The chairperson ensures that all characters have an opportunity to present their case. The meeting should run for 20—30 minutes.
Guided by the teacher, the class discusses the options available to grazier Sam Cannon. The options are posted on the board. Students then choose the option they consider the best for Sam and write one or two paragraphs explaining the reasons for their choice.
As a conclusion to the activity, students could discuss the following questions:
- Which characters were best able to put their point of view? Why?
- What conflicts were identified?
- What did you learn about the interrelated effects of changes in the catchment area?
- Do you think scientific argument or solutions can change society’s attitudes?
Gathering information about student learning
Sources of information could include:
- students’ written responses explaining which option is preferred and why
- anecdotal records of students’ contributions to class discussions.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 9 September 2008