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Tragedy of the Commons

Time:  5-day unit with standalone 10-minute activity

Lesson description: Students will learn about the status of global fisheries, play an educational game, plot data on a graph, and finally, strategize for the collaborative management of a common pool resource (the ocean). This unit focuses on a present day tragedy of the commons: the tenuous state of many fisheries around the globe. The unit centers around an educational game that helps students recognize the problem by catching fish (crackers) from oceans (reusable bowl). At the end of the game, some oceans will likely have over-harvested their stock until there are no fish left. Others will have developed a strategy in order to maintain a sustainable fishing industry. The stage is then set for solid discussions of resource management strategies for other shared environmental resources.

Suggested subject areas:All sciences, math, economics, engineering, social studies, and business

Lesson components and descriptions:

Tragedy of the Commons Lesson Plan Gives an overview of the unit along with step-by-step instructions for each lesson  including the 10-minute activity. ()

Tragedy of the Commons Handouts Includes reading material, reading comprehension worksheet, pre/post-quiz and answer key, fishing game rules, tables, and graphs, and finally a set of reflection questions. ()

Tragedy of the Commons Presentation An introduction to the concept of the commons as well as a link for a short video describing tragedy of the commons. ()

Untangling the Food System

Time: 1 day lesson

Lesson description: (55 Minutes) This lesson focuses on the interconnectedness of our industrialized food system. The lesson begins with a simple life cycle analysis – asking students to evaluate components and processes in the production of a Snicker’s bar. Secondly, students physically move around the room to simulate a food system and the interactions among components like soil quality and fossil fuels.

Suggested subject areas: all sciences, economics, social studies, health

Lesson components and descriptions:

Untangling the Food System Lesson Plan This document provides an overview and background information, as well as a step-by-step guide for the two activities. ()

Untangling the Food System Student Activity Cards These cards are designed to be cut into pieces by Primary Component of the food system and given to each student/pair of students. ()

Untangling the Food System Components and Terms This table provides explanations of each component. ()

Untangling the Food System Student Worksheet This is a reflection activity for students to complete near the end of the lesson. ()

Arizona’s Water and Food Systems

Time: 60 minutes

Lesson Description: The objective of this lesson is to help students understand their local food and water systems, what kinds of local food can be found in Arizona, and details about where Arizona cities get their water.

Suggested subject area: science/social studies

Lesson components and descriptions:

Arizona’s Food and Water Systems Lesson Plan Gives an overview of the unit along with step-by-step instructions ()

Arizona’s Food and Water Systems Student Handouts Includes instructions for the activity (PDF)

Arizona’s Food and Water Systems Presentation: An introductory presentation that goes along with the lesson plan ()