Earth day activity I did
With the 14, 15, and 16-year-olds, I did an Earth Day activity that went quite well. I attached a copy of it in case anyone in the world cares. It is for ESL students, but it could work well and be even more fun in the kids´native language.
It was actually a self-running discussion with the 16-year-olds. AND they were all interested and paying attention and speaking English the entire time. Score.
Earth Day Activity: Parliament
You are politicians in the parliament of a fictional country. You want to pass a law to protect the environment. The problem is that you disagree about which law would be most effective. There are several interest groups that support different laws. They will make their case to the government, who will decide which law to pass.
The Government: Neutral Decision-Makers
Look at each law and think of its weak points. Prepare questions for the group based on those weak points. After each interest group presents their case, you will question them about their law. At the end, you will decide which law to pass and why, based upon which group argues most effectively, not based upon your personal opinion.
Prepare questions for groups
Remember the interests of inhabitants and remember monetary limitations
Each group would like to pass a specific law. The group will make a presentation to the government about why their law is the best, and will answer questions from the government, then other interest groups about the drawbacks of their law. A good strategy is to predict some questions that may be asked and prepare answers in advance.
Prepare your argument
Prepare defenses for your law
Prepare questions for other groups
Interest Group 1 proposed law: No one may drive a car.
You believe that carbon dioxide emissions from cars is causing global warming, therefore, nobody should drive a car.
Interest Group 2 proposed law: Solar power must be the only source of energy.
You want to pass a law that requires your country to get all of its energy from solar panels. This means removing all of the existing power plants, then buying and installing many new solar panels.
Interest Group 3 proposed law: Families may only have one child.
Think about how many resources one person uses during their life!You think that if fewer people were born, more resources would be conserved.
Interest Group 4 proposed law: No one may eat meat.
You believe that meat consumption must stop. It takes a lot more water and energy to raise animals for meat than it takes to grow vegetables. Also, butchering and processing animals uses lots of energy.
The above was the handout I gave them. We read it out loud, and had the groups choose who they wanted to be. Depending on the size of the class, not all the laws will be argued by a group. There must be a government, however. After giving the groups a while to discuss their arguments, we had the discussion, which went like this:
-Each group presents their argument to the government
-The government asks Group 1 questions and Group 1 answers, and so on with other groups.
-If there is time left over, the groups may discuss their ideas amongst each other.
-Finally, the government decides which law to pass.
Every class I did this with would have preferred even more time to argue and discuss.