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National Geographic Education: Making Informed Environmental Decisions

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

Tech Product Equipment

Computer(s), Internet access, projector

Activity Description

In this activity, students use a decision making process to explore the complex nature of real-world environmental conflicts and how they get resolved. Students will explore the geographical, cultural, and political context of the social issue within the case, identify the stakeholders and their role and impact, and map out the intended and unintended consequences from the decision that was made. This lesson consists of four activities.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school and that the activity can be viewed.
  2. Review the detailed lesson plans (by scrolling down the page) and decide which activities you want to use by reading their descriptions. They are:
    • Activity 1: Students explore a real-world social issue and construct a decision recommendation from one stakeholder's perspective. Students discuss the influence, complexity, and interconnection of relationships that occur during the decision-making process.
    • Activity 2: Students explore the influences on the decision-making process and identify the stakeholders linked to the real case of the Gilgel Gibe III dam in the Lake Turkana region.
    • Activity 3: Students explore the consequences of building a dam in the Lake Turkana region.
    • Activity 4: This activity pulls together all the components learned in Activities 1, 2, and 3. Students revisit their work identifying stakeholders and consequences to complete the process of analyzing a decision.
  3. To find the needed resources for the activities you want to use, mark the check boxes in front of the activity numbers. Then select select the Preparation tab. There you will find a list of needed supplies technology, and other resources.
  4. Check the Background & Vocabulary to see what pre-teaching may need to occur before doing these activities.


  1. For the detailed Lesson Plan titled Making Informed Environmental Decisions , scroll down the page until you see the Directions, Objectives, Preparation, and Background & Vocabulary tabs.
  2. Introduce any new vocabulary.
  3. Follow the detailed directions for each of the activities, adjusting as necessary to your learners needs.

Teacher Tips

Each activity lasts approximately 50 minutes.

More Ways

Revisit the vocabulary tab at the end of the lesson and follow-up with a vocabulary quiz in a few days.

Select subjects and subcategories


  • Earth Science
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.