Topic outline

  • Rocket Dilemma

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

  • Topic 1

    What is It About?

    This particularly confronting dilemma examines how scientific knowledge is obtained and used. For example, is it ethical to use knowledge has been obtained through unethical means such as human experiementation?

    A facist government is in power, sweeping though Western Europe. Millions die for the sake of one man's dream: a super-human race. You are a scientist with a dream of your own: to build a rocket which will land on the moon. You are offered a job as a team-leader and this new government promises to fund your project, as long as work under their command. Over time you are asked to make choices, choices that may further human technical-scientific advancement, but the price you must pay is very high-many lives must be sacrificed for this dream as well as your integrity, even your humanity.

    Students undertaking this dilemma are required to think deeply and critically about the real-life complexities associated with scientific and technical advancement, personal ambition, "the common good", as well as astro-physics and astronomy.  

  • Topic 2

    Where to Use It?

    This dilemma was designed for years 9 and 10 in Austria. It may also be suitable for teaching history curricula, years 11 and 12, in Australia.


  • Topic 3

    Dilemma Story

  • Topic 4

    Teaching Resources