Title: Because We Can, Should We?310

Key Words: policies, resources, contemporary issues, place

National Standard: National Standard 18, NH State Standard 15.10.7

Teaching Level: H

Lesson Introduction: This lesson is a long-term writing assignment (two to three weeks) that involves research. It is the culmination of a unit on science and technology and the impact it has on the physical and human environment. It has been an extremely successful writing assignment, one which the students have enjoyed doing because of the available resources. It is not necessary to go through the story first, but I find that it helps students to begin to think in a different way about science and technology and its impact on the physical and human environment.

Identify a position on an issue of geographic importance and support it.
Analyze a variety of contemporary issues in terms of Earth's physical and human systems.
Use geography and skills to analyze problems and make decisions.

Materials: "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet (This story is available in many high school literature anthologies and in Great Short Stories.) Reference materials.

Read as homework the story "By the Waters of Babylon." Before reading the story discuss with the students the Biblical reference to Babylon. Ask the students in class to write a paragraph explaining what they think is the relationship between Babylon the Biblical reference and the story.
Discuss the story focusing on the idea that man self-destructed because he "ate knowledge too fast." Then discuss all the ways in history that man's use of science or technology has created changes on the physical geography of the world or on the human geography of the world.
Ask students to brainstorm a list of scientific/technological advances. Discuss how these advances have impacted us in a negative and positive way.
Pass out the essay assignment on the following page.

Evaluation/Assessment: The essay assignment is the assessment. Use the objectives as part of the criteria for your rubric/score sheet.

Enrichment: The assignment would work with National Geography Standard # 9 in regards to the immigration policy in the US.

Reflections: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.

Thank you.
The authors.

Because We Can, Should We

: The purpose of this assignment is to take a position on an issue of geographic importance by analyzing a variety of issues involving science and technology that affect the Earth's physical and human systems. You will use geography knowledge and skills to analyze the issues.

Directions: Look at the issues that we brainstormed in class and decide which one interests you. Then narrow the issues down to a specific topic and ask yourself the following question: Thesis Question: Because we can____________________ , should we _____________________?
Here's a sample thesis question: Because we can clone animals, should we allow unrestricted cloning?

The answer to the thesis question becomes your thesis or the stand you will take on this issue. Support your thesis with a variety of sources which might include information from the Internet, SIRS, Newsbank, the Reader's Guide to Periodicals, interviews with experts, videos, etc.

The paper should be 3-5 typed pages and must contain internal citations and a works cited page. Please include a chart, graph, map or some other visual representation of information.

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