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Teacher's Corner

Goals and Objectives Student Investigations

The City Council Energy Debate is a student-centered learning activity. Students work in cooperative groups - each representing a certain type of energy technology. Each group will try to convince the "City Council" to build an electric power plant that uses their type of energy technology. A community group should take a "no growth" approach and will try to convince the council that a new plant is unnecessary.

Each group creates a company name, logo and slogan (for example, hydroelectric power company could be "WaterWorks, Inc." with a slogan of "Dam, We're Good!")

Students will gather information using Internet resources for presentations and debate. See Student Activity Page.

To add realism to the event:
(1) hold the city council meeting in the library or some place other than your classroom
(2) encourage students to "dress the part"
(3) invite faculty, administrators, parents and the community to observe the meeting --they ask great questions and can help you evaluate the students!

PART 1: Team Research

  • Each group researches their energy technology type using Internet and other resources.
  • Groups collaborate to create a collective position.
  • Prepare press releases, environmental impact statements, visuals, etc.
  • Rehearse presentations.
  • PART 2: City Council Meeting

  • Each group presents their energy technology plan. (Hint: Set a time limit.)
  • Allow time for questions.
  • Idle groups should be taking notes on their competitor's presentations to prepare for the debate.
  • PART 3: Debate
    Don't forget to set ground rules! (Example: "No name-calling";"When one person has the floor,others are not to talk")

  • Each group will briefly restate why they are the best choice and others are not.
  • Rebuttals. All groups are expected to defend attacks against their company.
  • For additional background and activities related to Energy , the following teaching resources are suggested:
    Exxon Energy Cube -- available from Exxon Corporation

    EnergyQuest --

    Alternative Energy Discussion Mailing List -- LISTSERV@SJSUVM1.SJSU.EDU

    Contact California Energy Commission or US Department of Energy

    "Producing Energy" CD-ROM Produced by Visual Touch; Mac 7.0 or better

    "The Environment Series: Preparing Our Future" Interactive tutorial by ComPress; IBM 128k; Mac 512k

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