Unraveling the Scientific, Social, Political, and Economic Dimensions of Environmental Issues Through Role-Playing Simulations

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Abstract

The focus of this chapter is a role-play simulation unit within a college-level interdisciplinary science elective course for preservice teachers. The simulation utilized a United States Senate Subcommittee hearing to explore the use of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) genes in corn. Over an extended time period, students explored the material in depth, which incorporated a wide variety of teaching strategies and topics of current interest in science education (simulations, role-playing, driving questions, oral presentations, technology integration, portfolios, reflection, and concept mapping). The results demonstrated that this type of learning experience can significantly impact students’ understanding of how science is applied to environmental problems. Furthermore, students developed a greater appreciation of the importance of examining the scientific, social, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of environmental issues.