GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 97-6
Presentation Time: 9:40 AM


CHEEK, Kim A. and CHEEK, Dennis W., Childhood Education, Literacy, & TESOL, University of North Florida, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224

Role-playing simulations are one way to incorporate societal issues, increase student engagement, and promote geoscience literacy in introductory geoscience courses. A simulation is an active, problem-based learning strategy that can be used with classes of various sizes. During a simulation, students are immersed as “actors” in an authentic societal issue rife with ambiguity and no easy answers. In this talk we introduce participants to a role-playing simulation appropriate for physical geology courses on acid mine drainage (AMD) issues in the Republic of South Africa. AMD is a worldwide problem. It is often mentioned as the third most important contemporary environmental issue due to its impacts both near and at some distance from a mine. It is especially acute in the Witwatersrand area of the Republic of South Africa which contains over 5,00 abandoned mines. The effects of 120+ years of some of the most extensive and deepest mining in the world threaten the existence of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, flora and fauna, water supplies, and public health. AMD may also be contributing to increased seismic activity in the region.

During the simulation students are placed in teams representing a wide range of stakeholders impacted by AMD and attempt to act throughout the learning activity as they believe their real-world counterparts would. Students research AMD and its impacts drawing upon the same sets of common materials. Teams represent their own interests while working with other stakeholders to negotiate scientifically informed, creative, and viable solutions that take account of the many economic, political, technological, financial, and social issues surrounding AMD. The number of roles, complexity of information provided to students, and the time allotted to the simulation can all be varied based upon class demographics. Materials will be made available to session participants.

  • Cheek & Cheek GSA 2019.pptx (339.0 kB)