Topic outline

  • Rainforest Dilemma

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

  • Topic 1

    What is It About?

    This dilemma is set in a remote rainforest area in Brazil where, as  a young, ambitious and career-driven botanist working for a pharmaceutical company, you hope to find a remedy for a virus epidemic spreading rapidly throughout the developed world.

    Before leave, you begin to feel unwell. In spite of the warning signs, you set off to a remote area in the Brasilian rainforest where you  establish trust with the indigenous people of the area and they share their knowledge about the local plants with yourself and your senior researcher, Bob.

    Before long, the illness worsens and is spread amongst the community and several villagers die as a result.

    Taking the role as the botanist, the students are encouraged to imagine themselves in a delicate ethical position relating to trust and social responsibility.  

    This activity is designed to introduce students to combinatorial thinking of  sociology, mathematics and science:

    1. Sociology (empathetic decision-making, life and value);

    2. Biology (viruses and bacteria);

    3. Mathematics (growth)

  • Topic 2

    Where to Use It?

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

  • Topic 3

  • Topic 4

    Teaching Resources