Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Problems in Pollutia

Kelly Toomey


Students work in groups to make recomendations about environmental issues arising in the imaginary kingdom called Pollutia. They present short speeches highlighting action they believe should be taken and ideas of how each problem should be solved.


The student listens attentively to the speaker (including but not limited to making eye contact and facing the speaker).

The student presents a speech in an organized manner (including but not limited to including content appropriate to the audience, using notes or other memory aids, summarizing main points).

The student extends and refines knowledge of ways people can reuse, recycle, and reduce the use of resources to improve and protect the quality of life.


-One copy of Problems in Pollutia Topic Sheet (see attached file)
-One copy of checklist for each student (see attached file)


1. Make a copy of the Problems in Pollutia Topic sheet (see attached file)
2. Make copies of Checklist (see attached file)


1. Day One (Lesson introduction): Begin the lesson with a discussion about the complexities of our surrounding environment. Be sure to include that animals, plants, habitats, and human beings are all interrelated and affect one another. Explain that decisions humans make in every day life have a substantial effect on every other part of the environment. Make clear to the students that every decision made in dealing with environmental issues has a result either positive or negative.

2. Tell the class that there are many highly controversial topics regarding the environment that have been or are currently being debated. Explain that they will work in groups to create possible solutions to these problems. They will then present their arguments to the class. Continue by saying that students will also take turns being part of the council of the kingdom. All topics to be discussed will pertain to the fictitious kingdom called Pollutia. The council’s job will be to listen to both sides of the issue and make a ruling on what they believe to be the best course of action for the kingdom. Inform the students that their presentations should be about 5 minutes in length and a visual aid is encouraged but not required.

3. Break students up into groups of three or four. It is up to the teacher whether the students choose the topic they wish to debate or if they will be assigned. I recommend allowing the class to vote on the topics they find most interesting and then randomly assign those to groups to be studied.

4. Once the students know what topic they will be working on, tell them that the following class period will be used for them to discuss their positions and possible arguments within their groups. Make sure they have no questions about the assignment at this point. Give them another opportunity to ask questions about what they are expected to do the following day.

5. Day Two – Allow students to work within their groups to come up with possible solutions to the problems presented in their topics.

6. Day Three – Students continue to work in their groups defining their position and narrowing down their recommendations that will be made to the council.

7. Day Four – Use this period to have the students compile and organize their information. Also ask the students to come up with a recommendation to be made to the council of what they think the proper solution to the problem should be. They should be prepared to make their arguments the following day. Be sure they understand that each student is expected to speak. They may break up their presentations any way they wish, but each student should have equal speaking time. They may have a visual aid as well.

8. Day Five – Begin the debates by explaining that each group will have the opportunity to act as the king’s council. Their job is to listen to both sides of each issue and come up with a determination of what course of action should be followed. They will be responsible for recommending to the king what they believe should be done to properly solve the problem. Two groups (that are not debating on that particular issue) should be chosen to act as one council to the king. This council should comprise between six and eight students.

9. Begin with the first issue and have one side of the argument speak and then the other. The members of the council have the opportunity to ask questions of a group after they have finished presenting their argument. Council members are encouraged to take notes on what is said. When both sides have presented their arguments and the council has asked any and all questions, the council has approximately five minutes to make their recommendations to the king. During this time the teacher may be selecting the next group to speak and they should be preparing to begin their arguments. The debates continue in this manner until all issues have been completed and all recommendations have been made by the council.

10. Review with the class the judgements made by each council. Discuss any common threads among the judgements. What effect would these judgments have on a community such as the one we live in?


After completing the Beacon Learning Center Lesson, use the following assessment criteria:
Students should be able to:

1. Extend and refine knowledge of ways people can reuse, recycle, and reduce the resources to improve and protect the quality of life.
2. Understand information presented orally in a variety of forms.
3. Listen attentively to the speaker (including but not limited to facing and making eye contact with the speaker).
4. Present a speech in an organized manner.
5. Work cooperatively in a group setting to attain a goal.

The teacher should use the checklist (see attached file) as a formative assessment to be used as a guide for the teacher and student, to restructure and evaluate learning.


1. To extend this lesson the students could create their own problematic scenarios individually or in their groups and these could be used as a catalyst for many classroom discussions.
2. Have students brainstorm about environmental concerns in their school or classroom and have them discuss solutions to the problems.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.