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Exploring the Socio-political Dimensions of Global Warming - page 4 / 5





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species of plants and animals. For instance, warming in the arctic already threatens species such as the polar bear. It is likely that polar bears could become extinct within 10 years.

As scientists, we can not say what the best course of action is. However, we provide the best evidence possible based on the available data. It is very important for policy makers to weigh the evidence provided by scientists. Politicians should not ignore scientific results just because they may not support a particular political solution.

Recommendations: We will not make a specific policy recommendation, but we do recommend that the US Senate carefully consider the scientific evidence provided.

Conclusions We positioned this activity at the beginning of a three week unit and continued to refer back to the positions advanced as the students explored the issue of global warming. The activity was implemented within two different class schedules. Students had to rush a bit but completed the task in a fifty-five minute class period. In a ninety minute block period, students had plenty of time to craft their bills, and the teacher engaged students in a lively whole-class discussion as a means of summarizing the activity and setting the stage for the rest of the unit. Video recorded throughout the activity revealed that most students were actively engaged in analyzing the different perspectives and contributing to small group discussions. We also found that the activity seemed to help students keep an open mind throughout the unit because they did not feel as though we were forcing them to adopt a predetermined position. As the unit proceeded, students learned fundamental science concepts central to global warming such as atmospheric properties, the particulate nature of gases, and the combustion reaction. The jigsaw activity helped students understand the socio-political context in which these scientific concepts unfold.

References Barrett, S. E., & Pedretti, E. (2006). Contrasting orientations: STSE for social reconstruction or social reproduction? School Science and Mathematics, 106, 237- 247. Lazarowitz, R., & Bloch, I. (2005). Awareness of societal issues among high school biology teachers teaching genetics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 14, 437-457. National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Sadler, T. D., & Zeidler, D. L. (2005). Patterns of informal reasoning in the context of socioscientific decision making. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 112-138. Zeidler, D. L., Sadler, T. D., Simmons, M. L., & Howes, E. V. (2005). Beyond STS: A research-based framework for socioscientific issues education. Science Education, 89, 357-377.

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