This five-lesson unit is designed to help teachers and students address two of the most neglected Historical Eras and Themes Standards. Wisconsin History Standard #10 — Wisconsin’s response to 20th century change, and U.S. History Standard #10 — the search for prosperity and equal rights in Cold War and post-Cold War America, 1945 to present, are not necessarily completely overlooked in our classrooms, but often times the focus ends at Progressivism in the Wisconsin History standard and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. History standard.
There is a very rich, vital late 20th-century story with a distinctive local theme that is generally overlooked. This story begins with the American oil crises of 1973 and 1979 and continues today. What began as a reaction in rural Wisconsin and elsewhere across the country to our national expansion of energy production into nuclear power without strong consideration for the potentially catastrophic end results led to an awareness of the negative impact of the human footprint upon our state’s natural beauty and resources. Eventually, this awareness led to a moratorium on nuclear power plants, grassroots campaigns against such blights as Project ELF and the Ladysmith Mine, the establishment of Superfund Sites all over Wisconsin, a successful fight to close the Crandon Mine, and most recently, the identification and vigilant supervision of what are called factory farms.
However, Wisconsin’s strong instinct to protect our state’s pristine beauty has exacted a price on our state. For example, in 2003 the Fraser Institute, a mining think tank, gave Wisconsin the lowest “Investment Attractiveness Index” of any political unit in the world. At this point in human development, environmentalism is not necessarily seen as an economic boon. Ultimately, the environmental ideals that were central to the Tyrone protests of the 1970s spawned a worldwide movement known as environmental justice in the 1990s and today. Many people around the country and the world are trying to figure out ways to stay economically vital and protect the world we all live in. Everyone has the right to clean air, water and land, and no one has the right to destroy the environment.
This short unit hopes to address four major ideas or themes that have grown out of our state’s environmental movement.
1. What is an “environmental activist”?
An attempt to dispel stereotypes
2. Environmentalism is universal
Anything can happen in anybody’s backyard
3. Environmental activism must be a collective community effort
Tocqueville's Democracy in America true then and now
4. Local and national environmental reform movements conflict with and complement one another and must be negotiated politically, economically and socially.
Different groups with different missions can work together for environmental justice
This unit begins with an emphasis on the local case study of the Tyrone Nuclear Power Plant in rural Durand in the 1970s and 1980s. It is important for teachers to note that Tyrone is just a model. What took place in Tyrone in those years marked by fear of large scale blackouts and long gas lines has happened near every small town in the Chippewa River Valley. The nuclear power plant is easily replaced by a dam, strip mine, Navy radar facility or giant farm with a leaky manure pit. Local individuals and groups are interchangeable parts. The history of environmentalism is next door or just down the street from every school house in Western Wisconsin.
Lessons two through five really try to expand on the story of Tyrone to embrace the entire community that is Wisconsin and ultimately, in the last lesson, get students thinking about a more global view of environmentalism. One of the strong features of LBD was Locality and Nationality. Following the sequence from Lesson 1 and a small, rural case study to Lesson 5 and the principle of environmental justice for all world citizens displays locality and nationality quite well.
Potential Resources for Teachers
Wisconsin History Standards: Historical Eras + Themes
A. Wisconsin History grade 4-12 standard #10
Wisconsin’s response to 20th century change
B. U.S. History grade 5-12 standard #10
the search for prosperity and equal rights in Cold War and post-Cold War America, 1945-present
Social Studies Standard B: History Performance Standards – Grade 12
B.12.1 Explain different points of view on the same historical event, using data gathered from various sources, such as letters, journals, diaries, newspapers, government documents, and speeches
B.12.4 Assess the validity of different interpretations of significant historical events
B.12.5 Gather various types of historical evidence, including visual and quantitative data, to analyze issues of freedom and equality, liberty and order, region and nation, individual and community, law and conscience, diversity and civic duty; form a reasoned conclusion in the light of other possible conclusions; and develop a coherent argument in the light of other possible arguments
B.12.9 Select significant changes caused by technology, industrialization, urbanization, and population growth, and analyze the effects of these changes in the United States and the world
Social Studies Standard C: Political Science and Citizenship Performance Standards – Grade 12
C.12.1 Identify the sources, evaluate the justification, and analyze the implications of certain rights and responsibilities of citizens
C.12.8 Locate, organize, analyze, and use information from various sources to understand an issue of public concern, take a position, and communicate the position
C.12.9 Identify and evaluate the means through which advocates influence public policy
C.12.10 Identify ways people may participate effectively in community affairs and the political process
C.12.11 Evaluate the ways in which public opinion can be used to influence and shape public policy C.12.14 Explain and analyze how different political and social movements have sought to mobilize public opinion and obtain governmental support in order to achieve their goals
Information and Technology Content Standards
A. Media and Technology
Students in Wisconsin will select and use media and technology to access, organize, create, and communicate information for solving problems and constructing new knowledge, products, and systems.
B. Information and Inquiry
Students in Wisconsin will access, evaluate, and apply information efficiently and effectively from a variety of sources in print, nonprint, and electronic formats to meet personal and academic needs.
C. Independent Learning
Students in Wisconsin will apply technological and information skills to issues of personal and academic interest by actively and independently seeking information; demonstrating critical and discriminating reading, listening, and viewing habits; and, striving for personal excellence in learning and career pursuits.
D. The Learning Community
Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively in teams or groups, use information and technology in a responsible manner, respect intellectual property rights, and recognize the importance of intellectual freedom and access to information in a democratic society.
Ten Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure
1. Teachers know the subjects they are teaching.
The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines she or he teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for pupils.
2. Teachers know how children grow.
The teacher understands how children with broad ranges of ability learn and provides instruction that supports their intellectual, social, and personal development.
3. Teachers understand that children learn differently.
The teacher understands how pupils differ in their approaches to learning and the barriers that impede learning and can adapt instruction to meet the diverse needs of pupils, including those with disabilities and exceptionalities.
4. Teachers know how to teach.
The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies, including the use of technology, to encourage children's development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills.
5. Teachers know how to manage a classroom.
The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
6. Teachers communicate well.
The teacher uses effective verbal and nonverbal communication techniques as well as instructional media and technology to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
7. Teachers are able to plan different kinds of lessons.
The teacher organizes and plans systematic instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, pupils, the community, and curriculum goals.
8. Teachers know how to test for student progress.
The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the pupil.
9. Teachers are able to evaluate themselves.
The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his or her choices and actions on pupils, parents, professionals in the learning community and others and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
10. Teachers are connected with other teachers and the community.
The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support pupil learning and well-being and acts with integrity, fairness and in an ethical manner.
Teaching Unit 4
- An Introduction to Tyrone, WI
- NSP and the locals who would form a movement
- Summarize the historical story of the Tyrone Nuclear Power Plant and interpret the facts to describe how important it was that area residents organize and fight the plant.
- Analyze the reasons why people became active in the environmental movement in the 1970s.
- Begin to mentally construct a plan for how people may work together to form a movement.
- Explain and understand WI History standard #10 and U.S. History standard #10
Background information sheets - Available at Center for History Teaching and Learning
PowerPoint lesson - Available at Center for History Teaching and Learning
Read brief History of Tyrone area provided in order to gain strong background knowledge
Present the PowerPoint of the history of Tyrone provided
Lead a discussion at the end of class as a means of setting up the rest of the unit’s emphasis on Wisconsin’s environmental movement, the definition of an “environmental activist”, different forms of activism, and potential conflict that may arise when groups become active.
Take notes from PowerPoint presentation
Actively participate in discussion and class brainstorming at end of presentation
Lesson Content and Procedure:
It is extremely important that teachers and students understand that this unit is really focusing on WI History and US History standard #10. Additionally, it is important that students understand the “big ideas” of this unit. Those were listed for teachers in the introduction. By presenting the PowerPoint to students and spending time discussing the lesson and the images and documents presented in the PowerPoint students will begin to see just how Wisconsinites reacted to this particular change (perceived increased need for energy production at great personal cost) and how they fought to find their personal prosperity in Cold War America. Teachers must remember that these vague standards are really not so difficult to teach to students. During this unit, a daily reminder that Tyrone is metaphorically right down the road from anybody in this state is not a bad idea.
It may be helpful to teachers with limited background in environmentalism to have a generic definition of an environmental activist. Here is a definition- An environmental activist is one who believes in and is concerned for the importance of the environment within society. Environmentalists may be concerned with pollution, population growth, conservation and the effects of technology on the earth.
Pre-lesson: These questions are simply to get students thinking about some of the ideas to be covered this unit.
What is an activist? What is an environmental activist? Why might “normal “ people decide to become active in a movement like environmentalism?
What is an environmental activist? Could you see yourself participating in one of the protests we saw in the newspaper clippings?
Informal - Teacher should reflect on the day’s lecture and discussion regarding story of Tyrone and the analysis by students of the photos presented.
No Formal Assessment Exercise
REMEMBER - The first big theme of this unit is “What is an environmentalist?” This is an attempt to remove stereotypes from the minds of students about who works for change and justice. This theme is addressed by telling the Tyrone story and then following it up with lesson #2.
Background information for teacher review prior to Lesson #1
The story of the Tyrone Nuclear Power Plant has a great deal to do with the former community’s location along the Chippewa River with an unused railroad track right next to it. In addition, the area is remote from major metro areas, being about 20 miles downstream from Eau Claire and about 60 miles east of the Twin Cities metro area. It is not coincidental that Northern States Power Co., the developers of the Tyrone plant, has its headquarters located in Minneapolis. Here is the Tyrone tale-
Tyrone, WI was once the largest community in Dunn County. Originally founded by Irishman Hamilton Hubbard in 1856 Tyrone had a lot going for it. Set along the scenic Chippewa River, Tyrone was a perfect stopping place for river travelers between Durand and Eau Claire. There was a large lumber mill with a slough, a large hotel and many other thriving businesses. By 1880 350 people lived in Tyrone and it looked like it was a permanent fixture. However, times changed. River travelled diminished, the new railroad initially bypassed the area. When state highway 85 was built between Durand and Eau Claire it missed Tyrone. By the 1930s there was basically nothing left. Tyrone was absorbed into the local farming community. The people of this area where Dunn, Eau Claire and Pepin Counties meet were hard working, church-going people who passed a strong Midwestern work ethic on to their kids and supported their government through thick and thin.
That all changed in the summer of 1972. Twenty-seven landowners in the Tyrone area began to receive visits from representatives of Northern States Power Company (NSP). NSP wanted to buy their farms for future development. Some sold immediately, some held out until NSP informed them that the land would be theirs whether the landowners wanted it so or not. Homeowners were informed of the law of eminent domain. Most of the rest eventually sold. Finally by November there were only three landowners holding out; Henry and Clara Falkner (40 acres), Joseph and Stanley Cider (960) acres, and Harold and Lucille Bauer (200 acres). The Falkners had a small plot and they mainly stayed out of the limelight. The Cider brothers were very reclusive and may be categorized as anti-social so they really did not get involved in the fight to stop the land buy. It came down to the Bauers. Harold and Lucille had purchased their farm in 1953 and had worked hard to eke out a living. Harold was a veteran with an eighth grade education, Clara a strong, self-assured farm wife who knew how to stand up for herself. They felt strongly that NSP was offering them much less than their land was worth. NSP began the condemnation and eminent domain process. It was at this point that NSP’s real intent was revealed. In early 1973 NSP displayed plans for the Tyrone Nuclear Energy Park, a 1150 kilowatt nuclear power plant and nuclear waste storage facility. Immediately the Bauers had allies.
For the next nine years the Bauers and to a lesser extent the Ciders and Falkners became spokespeople for a decidedly grassroots movement during a very turbulent decade. The energy crises of 1973 and 1979, the ever growing demand for cheap gas and power and chilling environmental findings such as Love Canal in New York (lesson #4) coincided with a growing awareness of the human impact on the environment which was rooted in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in the mid-1960s but took wing beginning with the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 met head to head in rural Tyrone, WI.
The area around Tyrone and the community of Durand, just a few miles downstream, were overrun with “hippie types” as the Bauers called them and dark suited NSP representatives and lawyers on a regular basis for the next decade. Two local environmental activist groups, Northern Thunder out of Eau Claire and Citizens For Tomorrow (CFT) a locally organized farmer led group, organized marches through town and annual picnics on the grounds of the old town. In the meantime, lawyers for both sides battled it out in both local and state court. In 1979 courts finally ruled NSP could not build their plant because the company could not prove that at least 30% of the power generated was going to be used locally. That was a state law and it was pretty evident that NSP intended to use Tyrone to help power the Twin Cities metro area. Incidentally, it was also in 1979 that the near meltdown at Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant in Pennsylvania led to a national moratorium on nuclear power that still exists today. NSP was able to keep the land they had already purchased for possible future development. The Ciders passed away and their heirs sold their 960 acres to NSP. The Falkners moved on. The only people still living in the Tyrone area are the Bauers. Now in their mid-80s the Bauers actually were not granted full ownership of their home until they received a letter from the state in 1992. At that point NSP decided to “forgive” them the $175 monthly rent the company had been charging them to live on land it claimed to own since 1973. The land locally known as Tyrone sits idly waiting for the political climate to improve for NSP to try again. There have been occasional rumblings of the company planning to build a coal burning plant at Tyrone.
The story of Tyrone really lends itself well to meeting Wisconsin History standard #10 - Wisconsin’s Response to 20th Century change, and U.S. History standard #10 – the search for prosperity and equal rights in Cold War and post-Cold War America, 1945 to the present. These standards are often not reached in many Wisconsin history classrooms. In addition, the environmental movement as an example of the two standards is almost never focused on. This brief unit beginning with this lesson will allow teachers and students alike to study a time of great social, economic and political change in our country in an unusual manner. The lessons are also very thought provoking and allow teachers to branch off into many different directions depending on their class’s skill and interest level. There are great opportunities for really advanced critical thinking.
- Who is an “environmental activist”?
- Brainstorming and Analysis of Primary Written Documents
Length of Lesson - 1 class period (approx. 45 min)
- Define the term “environmental activist”
- Compare and contrast differing interpretations of the same events which impacted the environment of western Wisconsin in the 1970s
- Explain why people come to different conclusions about the above mentioned events based on their generational perspective
- Understand why Americans hold environmental protection at different levels of importance
- Copies of documents stored in Unit 4 Lesson 2 powerpoint
- Letters to editor written by Leo Schaff, Mrs. Paul Bauer, and Sister Valerian Schuster
- Letter to Mrs. Paul Bauer from J.M. Odoms
- National Archives Written Document Analysis - worksheet-master provided or can download.
- Appoint groups (do not let students choose groups). Preferable group size is 3
- Ask groups to brainstorm (10 MINUTES) the following questions (may adapt to please)
- List as many words or phrases that come to mind when you hear the word “activist”.
- List as many words or phrases that come to mind when you hear the word “environmentalist”.
- List as many activities that an activist might engage in to push for change
- What are some causes you may become involved in (8-10)?
- Write one definition of the term “environmental activist”
- List responses on board and discuss with all groups (10 minutes)
- Distribute one letter and document analysis worksheet to each group for document analysis (7-8 minutes)
- Assist students with analysis if necessary
- Finish class with discussion of each letter (letters must be visible to all groups so project on screen or make overheads). Make sure to go through them chronologically. (15 minutes)
- Finish with question - Are these letter writers activists? Is writing a letter something an activist would do?
- Participate fully in group brainstorming activity and discussion
- Complete NARA Document Analysis Worksheet
Lesson Content and Procedure:
In this lesson the teacher is trying to get students to reformulate what is an environmental activist in their minds. Most people have a pretty solid stereotype of the “environmental activist” embedded in their minds. Through the course of this lesson students may find out that activists take many shapes and activism takes many forms. Using two of our most sacred freedoms (speech and press) the people who wrote the letters in this lesson were trying to let everyone know that they were concerned enough to speak up and wanted to be heard. This is not to say that they held the same views on the subject of nuclear power and progress. Quite the contrary.
The letters take very different views of the Tyrone situation. The first is from a man who makes some interesting references to the New Deal Rural Electrification program and eminent domain. The Leo Schaff letter makes reference to the trouble in Iran (an interesting side lesson) in 1979 and basically is saying that there must be sacrifices for progress. The third letter is from an activist nun, Sister Valerian Schuster. This can be very startling to kids these days who really do not have a prototype in their mind of nuns being politically active on more than one subject. This could also create opportunity for classes to research our nation’s various churches and their rich past of political activism for many causes, including environmental protection. The last letter is Clara Bauer’s response to Leo Schaff. This really emphasizes the “not in my backyard” theme of this unit.
Teacher should be sure to refresh class memory of what transpired in previous lesson. Emphasize the continuation of discovering the answers to the “big idea” questions of this unit. In addition, teachers must make sure that students know that letters written either to individuals or to the editor of newspapers convey the schema and context of the letterwriter’s life. This definitely affects the way the individual perceives events. One must always be cognizant of this fact and teach students to be on the lookout for this fact and allow it to help them understand the writing. The brainstorming and analysis of primary documents will only be successful if the teacher stays on task throughout the activity staying engaged with the groups to keep them focused and to make sure they realize the importance of the activity. The success of this lesson is also predicated on students already being able to effectively brainstorm in small groups and it is assumed that document analysis has already taken place. The National Archives analysis worksheets are incredible valuable in breaking down primary documents. With practice, students do a lot of really high level analysis, synthesis and evaluation. However, be warned that it is not something that is done naturally. Students and teachers need to do analysis consistently throughout the year for best results.
- Informal - teacher evaluation of Q/A and discussion
- Formal assessment exercise - Scoring analysis worksheets (teacher-developed grade scale - suggest 10-12 pts)
Hazardous Waste in Your Neighborhood
Length of Lesson - 1 class period (45 minutes)
- Understand that environmentalism is universal
- Identify facilities in their neighborhoods that deal with hazardous chemicals.
- Recognize local, state and federal agencies responsible for environmental hazards in their communities.
- Explain the effects of chemicals on humans, animals and the environment
- Link to potential environmental hazard sites map.
- Computer lab with student access to the above mentioned map and also access to a list of web sites which will be used by students to access Wisconsin environmental watchdog agencies, etc…
- Attached list of web sites for students
- Story of Love Canal at EPA website https://www.epa.gov/history/love-canal Main Website: https://www.epa.gov/history
- Teacher computer attached to projector so students can look on while teacher goes over map and tells story of Love Canal
- Reserve Computer Lab
- Test equipment to make sure everything works. All material can be made into a hard copy rather than done interactively if necessary.
- Provide story of Love Canal. This can be distributed the day before as homework or can simply be discussed in class as website is projected for class
- Introduce and lead students in discussion and search for information on internet and map
- Ask the right questions
- Participate fully in class discussion
- Find a site or two in the map that intrigue and will be of interest over the next couple of days
- Pay attention in the computer lab and respect equipment and classmates
A PRE-LESSON NOTE - THIS LESSON WOULD BE BEST TAUGHT WHERE A TEACHER HAS ACCESS TO A COMPUTER THAT PROJECTS FOR THE STUDENTS TO OBSERVE OR IT SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN A COMPUTER LAB, ESPECIALLY ONE WHERE THE TEACHER CAN CONTROL WHAT IS ON ALL SCREENS FROM A MAIN TERMINAL.
This lesson is where the unit’s second big idea is addressed - the idea that Americans must always be vigilant about environmental protection because accidents can happen, waste can be dumped, factory farms can be built or water can be polluted right next door to anybody. First, the teachers must remind students of the story that has been told the previous two days. The people of Tyrone, WI were contentedly going about their lives when that all changed with one visit from a power company representative in 1972. This visit did not just change the lives of those families, but the lives of all people of Western Wisconsin. The teacher may want to ask students if the story of Tyrone could happen in their area. Maybe it already has. After perhaps five to ten minutes of discussion, the teacher should introduce the story of Love Canal (story may have been read as homework-SUGGESTED). After a discussion of Love Canal, justice, problems associated with toxic waste material and potential waste producers in the state of Wisconsin the teacher should once again project the map of Wisconsin on the big screen. This is the same map that was first introduced in lesson #1. Students should be interested in looking for possible environmental problem sites in their region of the state. The students may begin to look for particular sources on the web that will help them find information about past environmental hazards and areas deemed to be potential problem sites so therefore the state and other activist groups are watching them. This lesson is designed to get students to wake up from their complacency and begin to realize that it is the responsibility of all citizens to help monitor the wellbeing of our nation’s environment. This will lead into lesson #4.
IN THE LAST PHASE OF THIS LESSON (15-20 MINUTES) IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO JUST LET STUDENTS GOOGLE ON THE WEB. THIS IS NOT PRODUCTIVE. SOME SUGGESTED WEB SITES THAT WILL KEEP STUDENTS ON TASK ARE-
- EPA - This is an EPA site where students can enter their zip code and find out if there are any EPA identified potential problem sites in their areas. It is startling
- DNR - WI DNR Environmental Protection homepage. Students can go a lot of directions from this site. It really shows how important environmental protection is to our state and how much there is to manage
- WI DNR website about managing runoff from farms, possibly our state’s greatest environmental risk right now. Many people do not know about it or worry about it because it is not much in the news but, as shown on this site, it is a major concern
- An article on factory farms
- This is a map that shows the number of factory farms by type in each county in WI. It is interactive and takes a few minutes to load
- The Eau Claire based organization that helped fight the Tyrone plant as well as kept an eye on Flambeau and Crandon and was instrumental in initiating county-wide recycling in Eau Claire County. There is a nice history of western WI environmentalism on this site
- Story of the successful fight against the Crandon Mine in Northeastern WI. The site is produced by Native American activists, but the story addresses how many groups rallied together, groups that might previously have been at odds with on another
- Company produced look at the mine before and after reclamation
No Specific Formal Assessment Exercise
Informal - Teacher observation of on-task behavior and a post-class evaluation of success of lesson and level of discussion and questions for high level thinking.
- Environmental Activism must be a
- Community Effort
Length of Lesson - One class period
- Explain how environmental activism must be a community effort to succeed
- Describe Alexis de Tocqueville’s explanation of American democracy as it relates to this unit.
- Apply Tocqueville’s idea of American democracy in 1835 to the present.
- Give examples of associations in our society that protect public welfare.
- Distinguish between groups that protect or advance public welfare and those that do not.
- Short reading about Tocqueville, democracy and active citizenship (attached) to be distributed to students for 15 minutes of active reading. *Adapted from website www.teachablemoment.org
- Response questions (attached) for reading. *Adapted from www.teachablemoment.org
- A circle of 6-8 desks or chairs in the center of the classroom
- Some kind of grading scale to evaluate student fishbowl discussion
- Organize classroom for fishbowl discussion
- Select appropriate students for discussion. This is especially true if the class has never fish bowled before. If this is the first of this type of discussion it is imperative that it goes well.
- Monitor time closely
- Control students in and out of the fishbowl
- Evaluate discussion and rate student performances
- Read assigned reading
- Thoughtfully prepare responses to accompanying questions
- Respond and interact well in fishbowl if selected
- Pay close attention and respect students in bowl if not selected
Lesson Content and Procedure:
This lesson focuses on Big Idea #3 - Environmental activism must be a community effort to succeed. Tocqueville was enthralled with the nature of America’s settlement into small, generally rural communities. Of course, Wisconsin was not settled in 1835, but his study of the New England towns and the connections within and between those communities was a model which Wisconsin mirrors. Wisconsin is made up of many small towns within a few miles of one another. There is usually open communication between those towns. When one small town is affected by something major like a nuclear power plant it affects many small towns in the area. Individuals in those communities form associations and rally together to fight for what they believe in. This was unique in America in the 1830s and it is truly still unique to the region east of the Mississippi (generalization) today. Referring back to the historical eras and themes standards this unit is addressing, it is very important that students know that Wisconsinites would have responded very differently to 20th century changes had there not been such strong community bonds. It is also important that students see that community is central to seeking prosperity and supporting one another throughout Cold War and post-Cold War Wisconsin. This fishbowl discussion really takes a grand idea of Alexis de Tocqueville and makes it simple for kids to understand and take ownership in knowing.
Fishbowl lessons are incredibly effective and empowering for students, especially if organized and carried out consistently and thoroughly. A fish bowl works like this. The classroom should be organized with all desks or chairs around the perimeter of the room with space for 6-8 desks/chairs in the center of the room. All students should be given 15 minutes to read/write/think about what the teacher distributed. After silent time, 6-8 students are called to the center of the room. They pull their seats with them in a circle. The teacher begins the discussion by asking for a response to question #1. After the first volunteer speaks the rest of the students are expected to respond and discuss question #1 even if their response is the same as other students. The same process is followed for the remaining questions. The teacher’s only role is to keep the discussion progressing and keep the rest of the class involved and paying attention. If the discussion is good the first group may take up all of the class, if it lags the teacher may call in another group of students and follow the same process. It is important that students know that the teacher is going to be completing individual evaluation sheets on all participants immediately at the end of class. It is also important for students to know that they will all be participating in the fishbowl at some time or another and that it is always an important grade. The fishbowl works best when the school follows a block schedule. However, it can work on a traditional schedule. Readings and questions can be done as homework to speed thing up.
Teacher evaluation of discussion
Formal Assessment Exercise-
Teacher created grading scale for fishbowl. Teacher should have a standard method of grading if using for different units.
The Student Reading and Questions are attached
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE FISHBOWL METHOD WAS PRESENTED BY A GROUP OF TEACHERS FROM WAUSAU WEST HIGH SCHOOL AT THE 2006 WISCONSIN SOCIAL STUDIES CONVENTION. THAT SCHOOL AND THOSE TEACHERS DESERVE ALL THE CREDIT FOR THIS WONDERFUL METHOD OF LEARNING.
Community Activism & Citizenship Reading
Since the very beginnings of the United States of America more than 200 years ago, active citizens have created, and continue to create, countless volunteer groups to do everything from preventing an old tree from being cut down by town workers or supporting a new sewer system to stopping a prisoner's execution; from promoting animal rights to abolishing slavery.
Many active citizens made American history by working to end injustice or to fill a public need.
They launched movements:
- to legislate the 40-hour week and 8-hour day
- to win the right to bargain collectively with employers
- to gain for women the right to vote
- to provide citizens with safer food
Full List of Resources
Lesson #1: What is an Environmental Activist? (Part 1)
Lesson #2: What is an Environmental Activist? (Part 2)
- Lesson 2 Letters PowerPoint (Leo Schaff, Mrs. Paul Bauer, Sister Valerian Schuster, J.M. Odoms)
- National Archives Document Analysis Worksheets
- History Kit Inventory
Lesson #3: Hazardous Waste in Your Neighborhood
- Wisconsin environmental hazard sites map
- The story of Love Canal
- WI Environmental Protection Unit
- WI DNR
- Story about Factory Farms in Wisconsin
- Map of factory farms in WI
- Eau Claire-based environmental organization
- Story of Crandon Mine
- Successful Flambeau Mine reclamation
- History Kit Inventory
Lesson #4: Environmental Activism must be a Community Effort
- Short reading about Tocqueville, democracy and active citizenship
- Response questions to Tocqueville
- History Kit Inventory