Grade 10 (secondary school)
Teachers should be able to conduct the lesson in one or two classes.
Students will assess economic, environmental and other contemporary impacts of globalization by considering the benefits and challenges associated with the use of biomass fuel.
Northwest Territories – Social Studies 10-1 Perspectives on Globalization
By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
- define biomass fuel;
- identify the role of forest products in the production of biomass fuel;
- identify the role of waste wood (i.e. from construction) as biomass fuel;
- analyze political and economic challenges and opportunities of globalization;
- explore multiple perspectives regarding the relationship among people, the land and globalization;
- evaluate actions and policies associated with globalization that impact the environment (land and resource use, resource development agreements, environmental legislation);
- analyze multiple perspectives on sustainability and prosperity in a globalizing world.
A Northwest Territories community on the fringe of the boreal forest strikes a task force to examine the possibility of converting to biomass fuel generation as it faces rising costs and other logistical challenges in supplying traditional fossil fuels to its community.
Assume the role of a local community leader (mayor, chief, etc) who approaches their council with an idea to create a task force made up of local community members and experts to help the community decide if they should pursue the option to convert to biomass fuels.
The teacher may wish to use the following prompt to help frame the task ahead of them:
Your local community leader has approached you, as a member of the local council, with an idea to create a task force to study the feasibility of pursuing biomass fuel production and use in your community. There is a small independent mill in the community that relies on harvesting areas of the boreal forest located within a day's drive of the community. Wood material that is often the by-product and waste of milling is one of the main biomass materials used to create alternative energy sources. Does this option have enough economic, environmental and sustainability merit to warrant going ahead with converting to this form of fuel for your community?
The task force will be made up of local community members and experts and it will be their job to research the issue, compile a presentation to the community outlining its findings and make a formal recommendation to either move forward or abandon further exploration and discussion about biomass use in the community.
Ask the “council” (students) who they think should be on the task force. A final list of task force members may include:
- local gas station owner(s)and/or home heating fuel distributor
- owner of the local mill
- territorial representatives
- local elder
- scientist/engineer whose expertise is in biomass research
- representatives from the natural gas and oil industries
- representative from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
- unemployed youth from the local community
- community college representatives
- a local business owner
- technology firm capable of integrating bio-energy operation into existing traditional pulp and paper mill
Help locate information for the task force members as required (this may require having information ready for those needing differentiated instruction and support). Distribute the Biomass Task Force Research Summary Guide as a resource to assist students.
Preside over the information sharing session. Help organize and display evidence gathered for all to see. Use the Biomass Task Force Information Summary Guide.
Ask each group to develop a one minute verbal summary of their position based on the research they conducted and their role. Task force members may at this time actively seek out alliances with those who share their position on this issue in order to help influence the final decision of the group.
Appoint a chair for the task force to ensure that a final recommendation is written and submitted.
Convene a council meeting to hear from the task force. Each member of the task force will have one minute to summarize their position on the issue in light of their role/expertise/opinion.
Ask for the task force's final report and recommendation.
Students research the issue of biomass production as it relates to their role on the task force. Use the Biomass Task Force Research Summary Guide as a resource.
Students bring their research back to the task force group and share their findings to generate a common pool of information for all to view. Use the Biomass Task Force Information Summary Guide
Prepare the verbal summary. Make alliances with other groups as necessary.
A chair of the task force may be elected to help compile and write the final recommendation to present to council.
Summarize the issue (while role-playing), regardless of the final decision, to report to the council.
Submit the final report and recommendation.
- Prepare and stage rallies and protests that support the various positions on this issue.
- Create editorials and editorial cartoons that explore the issue in greater depth.
- Create newscasts/interviews/radio shows that interview members of the task force after the report and decision have been announced.