This article examines some of the issues in Quebec surrounding the controversial practice of fracking and the likelihood of its acceptance.
Appropriate Subject Area(s):
Environmental studies, world issues
Key Questions to Explore:
- What is fracking?
- Why is this practice controversial?
- What are the environmental impacts of fracking?
Fracking (hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside)
- Resources to construct a poster either supporting or condemning fracking
- Access to the internet
- Two class periods
Introduction to lesson and task:
As the world seeks to secure the energy resources it will need in the future it explores various methods to extract non-renewable energy supplies from the earth and to develop new methods of utilizing renewable energy sources. Fracking has emerged as one of the methods of extracting natural gas energy resources but the practice has received much criticism. Fracking is being condemned because of, among other things, its high water usage and concern about the chemicals that that are being injected into the earth at very high pressures. The visual presentation found at http://www.dangersoffracking.com summarizes these concerns.
Opposition to fracking is rapidly growing. In addition to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, which have a form of moratorium on fracking, New Brunswick is introducing its own moratorium on hydraulic fracking until five specific concerns are met. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/new-brunswick-introduces-fracking-moratorium/article22139797/)
The question then becomes whether or not fracking should be supported as a viable means of extracting energy sources. The students will be asked to discuss this question and develop a poster which supports their position on fracking.
Action (lesson plan and task):
- Ask the students if they can explain fracking and why there is so much concern about this process
- Once you have gotten their responses indicate to them that there remains a great interest in pursuing this practice and that a lot of attention is being focused on this issue.
- Provide the students with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
- Once they have read the article ask them to indicate whether or not, if they were in a position to decide, they would approve fracking.
- Divide the class into two groups according to their responses. (For the purposes of the remainder of the lesson it is fine if there are not opposing positions.)
- At this point there may be two groups – one which supports fracking and one that does not. (This action of dividing the students into these groups is simply to ensure that the work groups which will now the formed will contain like-minded individuals.)
- Further divide the students into appropriate size work groups and inform them that they are to further research fracking. They are to design and produce a poster which effectively supports their position on fracking and presents information that would be supportive of that stance.
- Allow them the remainder of class time to plan their poster and inform them that they will have most of the next period to complete their poster, explaining to them that they will have to present their poster before the end of the next class period.
- During the second period of the lesson allow the students time to complete their work, keeping enough time for all of the groups to present their poster.
- Follow up the presentations with a brief class discussion on fracking and then take a poll to see whether there is a consensus about fracking.
Consolidation of Learning:
- The students will gather information about fracking, discuss that information and then organize it into a convincing position concerning their level of support for the practice.
The students will:
- be able to explain fracking.
- be able to identify the concerns about fracking.
- offer an informed opinion on why they do or do not support the practice of fracking.
- The students will present and explain their posters and then engage in a class discussion concerning the practice of fracking and the issues surrounding it.