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Using the Western Swamp Tortoise Dilemma

An extract from the “Teacher Reflection” of Bree Hartley (see below)

We began with this Web-based activity about wetlands as I was concerned about the students’ lack of knowledge in this area and I wanted to begin the activity in a student-focused manner. The PowerPoint presentation enabled the students to gain some knowledge about the Western Swamp Tortoise and raised questions about the role of science in the protection of endangered animals. I then prepared the class for the dilemma activity by discussing the need for effective listening skills and tolerance of the values and beliefs of others. I guided the students through the story, giving them the opportunity to “think, pair, share” , as suggested in the activity, gradually building the intensity of the dilemma. Finally, the students completed the “submission to the Council” task using their own views and opinions developed during the activity.

In summary, I found this project to be worthwhile and stimulating for the majority of students and myself. The opportunity for the students to really open their minds and consider others’ points of view was a positive and valuable learning experience. Being able to see how science understandings impact upon real-life situations was also beneficial for the students.

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The dilemma stories on this Web-site deal with a range of ethical issues some of which might be considered offensive by some people. While the authors and administrators regret any offense this may cause readers, no responsibility for any such offense can be accepted by either the authors or administrators.