Students as Policy-makers:
Confronting Global Environmental
Brought to you by
The Choices Education Program
Watson Institute for International Studies
To empower young people with the skills,
knowledge, and habits necessary to be
engaged citizens who are capable of
addressing international issues with
thoughtful public discourse and informed
• Curriculum Development
33 published curriculum units
Online “Teaching with the News” lessons
• New Digital Materials
Over 300 Scholars Online videos
Digital lessons currently under construction
E-text available for all units
• Professional Development
75-100 programs annually
Teacher Leadership Summer Institute
Thiss m r’ Ins
um e s titute:
TheC lle eo Nuc a We p ns
ha ng f le r ao
Types of Curriculum Units
U.S. Perspective Foreign Perspective
1. Global Environmental Problems 1. Caught Between Two Worlds:
Mexico at the Crossroads
C. I. 2. Genocide: Never Again?
2. Contesting Cuba’s Past and
3. Shifting Sands: Balancing U.S.
Interests in the Middle East
1. Colonialism in the Congo: Conquest,
Conflict and Commerce
2. Indian Independence and the Question of
3. Freedom in Our Lifetime: South
1. America Enters the Age of Africa’s Struggle
Imperialism 4. Iran Through the Looking Glass:
History, Reform, Revolution
2. WWI and the League of Nations
Why Use Role-plays?
• Using a variety of lesson formats addresses
students’ different learning styles.
• Role-play simulations places students at the
center of the learning process.
• They create a dynamic classroom environment
that can be motivating for students.
Why use the Choices Options
• They help students to recognize that the making of
history is a dynamic process and not predetermined.
• Role-plays help students see issues and history in a
more nuanced light and force them to consider
• They develop students analytical skills.
• Engaging in role-plays familiarizes students with key
terms and people central to an event or issue.
• Part I: Global Environmental Problems
– Climate Change and Ozone Depletion, Water Pollution,
• Part II: The Environment and Economic Development
– Global Population Growth, Energy Resources, Resource
• Part III: Environmental Issues on the International Agenda
– The Environment and International Security, International
Environmental Agreements, Determining U.S. Policy
• Optional: Following the Path of the Carbon Cycle
Choices for Teachers
• 3 or 5 day lesson plan, interdisciplinary
• Rubric for oral presentations (TRB 46)
• Day one alternative plan, using Google
• Alternative study guides (differentiate)
– Organize information from the readings
– Analysis and synthesis before class
Additional Student Resources
• Key Terms (TRB 42)
– Vocabulary by reading section
• Toolbox (TRB 43)
– Quick summaries of big concept
• Scholars on-line www.choices.edu/resources
– Scholars explaining the issues, public policy
– International experts, variety of perspectives
Variety of Student-Centered Lessons
• Global Environment Problems and Local
• Exploring the Amazon Using Google Earth
• Global Environmental Problems in the
• Understanding the Carbon Cycle
• Options Role-play: Responding to Global
• Looking into the Future
Global Environmental Problems
and Local Concerns (TRB 4)
Objective: Students will understand the concept of
stakeholders and competing interests.
• Class brainstorms what they know about the
• Students read information in small groups and
complete handout (TRB 7-9)
7. Discuss policy decisions
9. Refer to the questions in Assessing Data and
Creating Recommendation to create a student
Global Environmental Problems
and Local Concerns
• Brainstorm- “Why is the Amazon rainforest
• Read “Environment & Economy” (TRB 7)
• In your table groups, divide up the reading,
“Stakeholders in the Region” (TRB 8)
• Complete handout “Stakeholders in the Region”
(TRB 9) – complete the section you read
• Using the cards, categorize them in groups who
share common priorities.
Exploring the Amazon Using
Google Earth (TRB 10)
Objective: Students will deepen their understanding of
the Amazon region
• Divide students into 4 groups; each group completes
“Exploring the Rainforest” (TRB 12)
• Then each group focuses in on a specific area;
answers handout (TRB 13-16)
• Jigsaw the groups;
in the Amazon” (TRB 17)
Global Environmental Problems in
the International Arena (TRB 18)
Objective: Students will compare
environmental concerns in four distinct
regions of the world.
2. Divide students into 4 groups. Assign
each group a region.
3. Using the readings (pgs. 14-16),
scholars on-line & UN website, groups
UN Commission develop a presentation regarding the
On Sustainable Development environmental problems and concerns
www.un.org/esa/sustdev of the region.
4. After presentations, students analyze
the viewpoints of each region.
Examine Global Perspectives
• What are the major points of
• How might actions in one region affect
conditions in another?
• What is the likelihood of global
consensus on environmental issues?
Hearing on Global Environmental Policy
Role-Play (TRB 29 & 37)
Objectives: Students will analyze the issues that frame
the debate on U.S. Policy on the
4. Organization is key to success!
6. Divide students into 4 Option groups
Handouts (TRB 34-35)
• Remainder of class becomes the Presidential
Advisory. Handouts (TRB 36 & 38)
Role-play: Environmental Policy
Option1: Put the Economy First (p.31-32)
Option 2: Take the Lead in the Green Economy
Option 3: Promote Sustainable Development
Option 4: Protect Mother Earth (pp. 37-38)
Presidential Advisory Panel: Review Options in
Presenting Option Groups: You will make a persuasive
presentation in order to convince the Presidential Advisory
Panel that your environmental policy option in the best
one for America to pursue. You will need to address the
following in you presentation:
How important are environmental problems compared to other
problems facing the United States?
How should international responsibility for environmental issues be
What should be the role of the United States in the world?
On what values is your option based, and how do these values
impact your policies?
Why is your policy the best one to pursue?
Presidential Advisory Panel: Read over each of the
options with a critical eye and develop challenging
questions for each of the option groups.
The questions should:
- demonstrate an understanding of each of the option’s
- be designed to find the short-comings of each of the
- help clarify the differences between each of the
• Choices materials engage students in their
• Through role-play, students deepen their
understanding of important issues (historic or
• Choices materials incorporate various
standards within History-Social Science as
well as cross-curricular with Language Arts,
It’s fun and rewarding!
The first time utilizing the role-play in
your classroom can be challenging; But
it gets easier! It is definitely worth it.