Lesson Plan: The Chicken or the Egg?
In a general class discussion, ask students to reflect on
their knowledge of tragedies that have struck communities (including natural
disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, drought, and human-made
disasters such as nuclear events, pollution, fires, war).
Ask: How have these disasters changed the lives of the local people and the communities they live in?
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to Mercury Rising: The Poisoning of Grassy Narrows on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them view the clips "Poisoned in many ways", "Community in crisis", "Grassy Narrows disaster" and "Lessons in genocide."
After listening to and viewing the clips, students will create a two-pronged cause-and-effect chart that begins with two sources (the government order for the community to move and the industrial pollution of the rivers), traces the chain of events that eventually links the two "streams," and ends at a common conclusion (the community's disaster and the eventual outcome of the troubling events).
Revisit and Reflect
Have students display and present their charts. Students then reflect in a journal entry their feelings about what happened to the Grassy Narrows people and conclude with their opinion of the usefulness of the $9 million compensation award to the community.
Students can search newspapers and websites to find information on the effects of the disaster in Minamata, Japan, then answer the following questions:
How have the people in that community responded to their disaster?
How does this disaster compare to the one at Grassy Narrows?