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Teaching Millennials to Engage THE Environment instead of THEIR Environment: A Pedagogical Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  After the students in the course engage in the basic conceptual frameworks needed to understand how science, technology, and the environment are covered (such as a brief history of the emergence of the scientific method, how measures and data are used to test hypotheses, how scientific consensus is reached, etc), one approach asks each student to select an environmental journalist and write on his or her blog about the stories, issues, and observations concerning the journalist’s work. This activity provides a practical outlet for the principles and concepts learned in the class, which is extremely important for the experientially oriented Millennials. Visual Frameworks Because judgment is best acquired through action, it is also important to introduce epistemological inquiries concerning the cultural and political understandings of science, technology, and the natural world through applied course activities. An example of a possible opening exercise for undergraduate students is to ask them to briefly provide their own definition of the word “natural” (this makes for a good class discussion or blog assignment). For each answer given, the instructor can deconstruct the definition to the roots of ideological bias, forcing each student to confront the ideological complexity of judging the difference between “natural” and “artificial.” Other applied questions may follow (for example, “What is the difference between ‘medication’ and ‘drug abuse’? Who gets to decide?” “In the world of sports, what is the difference between ‘supplement’ and ‘performance-enhancing drug’?” “Who gets to decide?” etc.). From this basic context, cultural controversies such as the definitions surrounding the abortion debate, gun control, and the death penalty provide the stimulus for observing 10

Authors: Stevens, Rick. and Crow, Deserai.
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After the students in the course engage in the basic conceptual frameworks 
needed to understand how science, technology, and the environment are covered (such as 
a brief history of the emergence of the scientific method, how measures and data are used 
to test hypotheses, how scientific consensus is reached, etc), one approach asks each 
student to select an environmental journalist and write on his or her blog about the 
stories, issues, and observations concerning the journalist’s work. This activity provides a 
practical outlet for the principles and concepts learned in the class, which is extremely 
important for the experientially oriented Millennials.
Visual Frameworks
Because judgment is best acquired through action, it is also important to introduce 
epistemological inquiries concerning the cultural and political understandings of science, 
technology, and the natural world through applied course activities. An example of a 
possible opening exercise for undergraduate students is to ask them to briefly provide 
their own definition of the word “natural” (this makes for a good class discussion or blog 
assignment). For each answer given, the instructor can deconstruct the definition to the 
roots of ideological bias, forcing each student to confront the ideological complexity of 
judging the difference between “natural” and “artificial.” Other applied questions may 
follow (for example, “What is the difference between ‘medication’ and ‘drug abuse’? 
Who gets to decide?” “In the world of sports, what is the difference between 
‘supplement’ and ‘performance-enhancing drug’?” “Who gets to decide?” etc.).
From this basic context, cultural controversies such as the definitions surrounding 
the abortion debate, gun control, and the death penalty provide the stimulus for observing 
10


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