Climate Change Lesson 13 : Community Conversation

1. Introduce Discovery through Dialogue

Hold a class discussion exploring the difference between a debate and dialogue, and discuss examples of active listening. [Debate can be a combative conversation, where each side has one “right” or “best answer, with the ultimate result being a winner and loser. Dialogue is a conversation filled with listening to find common understanding. There is no winner or loser, but rather respect for all parties involved. Active listening occurs when an individual sincerely wants to hear and understand what is being said. Examples of active listening include: asking follow up questions and confirming what you heard.]

If students require additional information on this topic, distribute the Dialogue Preparation: Dialogue, Debate, & Careful Listening student resource found on the MEECS Climate Change Resource DVD.

2. Introduce the scenario and possible policies or decisions. (One possible decision is always to do nothing.) 

Use Some Effects of Climate Change in Michigan (teacher resource) or Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region on the MEECS Climate Change Resource DVD to begin discussion.

3. Assign community profiles.

Assign a community member role to each student or pair of students from the Community Conversation Cards on the MEECS Climate Change Resource DVD. The list of roles and a sample card is found on the Community Conversation Cards teacher resource.

Have students research how climate change might affect the persona they have been assigned. Each profile has some hints about the character and websites students can go to start their research. The Before the Conversation student activity can help guide their research.

4. Conduct a Pair-Share Discovery through Dialogue

Each student listens to another student as he/she talks about the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change for his/her community character. Record what she/he hears on the What’s the Impact? student activity. Students change places and repeat the process.

Have students discuss how the results relate to the concept of sustainability – the capacity to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Have students complete the After-the- Conversation student activity.

5. Tying it all together – The Town Meeting

As a class or in groups, develop a proposal about climate change that incorporates at least three ideas for action. Have each ‘community member’ complete the following:

• What is your position on the proposal?

• What additions or changes would you support?

• What would you show or say at a community meeting about the proposal?

Hold a Town Meeting on the proposals. Serve as the moderator and introduce the topic—explain the meeting format and rules. One option is to run the meeting using the teacher resource Revolving Conversation Guidelines. The teacher can record student participation on the Student Participation Rubric teacher resource. Both are found on the MEECS Climate Change Resource DVD.

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