Sixth Graders Debate Oil Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Ms. Picard’s Sixth Grade Earth Science class held a mock debate on whether or not the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be opened to oil drilling. The students were divided into pairs so as to present multiple perspectives of the situation.  Each pair assumed the identity of an interest group and comprised a brief yet powerful argument that embodies their party’s beliefs. The participating parties included: Climate Change Experts, Sierra Club, Gwich’in Nation, Arctic Power, Inupiat People, and the Teamsters Labor Union. The interest groups presented their arguments to a Senate Committee comprised of three faculty members who made the final decision regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and oil drilling. Based on the facts presented during the debate, the Senate Committee ruled not to drill with the understanding that the decision could change in the future when more factual information becomes available.