Topic outline

  • Peter's Tree Dilemma

    Dr Elisabeth TAYLOR, Department of Education, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, AUSTRALIA

  • Topic 1

    What is It About?

    When Peter was born, his parents received a little tree as a present, a baby pine tree. They planted it in the front garden to celebrate the birth of their first-born child. As Peter grew, so did the tree and so did the spiritual bond Peter had with tree.

    Over the years the circumstances of Peter's family have changed. The children have grown, married, leaving his parent's and grandparent's in the house. His parent's dreamed of owning a camper-van, and now the children are gone, they are able to realise this dream. They invest in a camper-van and they park it in the yard.

    It turns out the camper-van is too long to safely park it in the yard. There is only one solution-the tree must go and the carport will take its stead.

    This activity is designed to introduce students to combinatorial thinking using tenets of philosophy, sociology, and science:

    1. Empathetic decision-making;
    2. Philosophical arguments regarding value and life;
    3. Botany and ecosystems
  • Topic 2

    Where to Use It?

    This dilemma was designed to be used in both science and social science education for high school students (14 years and older)
  • Topic 3

    The Dilemma Story
  • Topic 4

    Teaching Resources