Friday, July 13, 2012

Teaching Earth Science and Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) Awareness

Today, I was writing curriculum for my Earth Science class.  I wanted to include some current news and issue to study about how humans are living with and/or affecting geologic events.  My focus was primarily on the earthquakes that can be associated with hydraulic fracturing techniques used to recover natural gas from shale deposits.  What the frack?  I was very disturbed by the reading and research that I did.  I guess I am wondering why it is totally necessary for the drilling companies to use hundreds of thousands of gallons of poison mixed with water for the drilling?

Most disturbing finding:  that in 2005, Congress passed legislation making hydraulic fracturing companies exempt from many key regulations in the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act?  I immediately made some calls to all of my congressmen about regulating the pollution created.

Regardless of my own personal convictions, as a science teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to present a current scientific controversy and teach students to think critically about it.  This means thinking about it from both sides and coming to a conclusion on your own.  This fantastic article called "Should Fracking Stop?" that was published in the peer reviewed journal Nature provides source-cited point and counterpoint.

"Extracting gas from shale increases 
the availability of this resource,
but the health and environmental risks may be too high."

This is a great jumping off point to stage a debate with your class.  I always think it is most interesting to take kids who are firmly entrenched with their belief (example: against fracking) and place them on the opposing side of the debate.  It is a concrete exercise in asking kids to stand in the shoes of those on the other side of an issue.

There's a documentary out called Gasland: Can You Light Your Water On Fire? It has caused quite the stir, and if you are going to present the issue in class, I would watch it first so you are ready to answer questions about it.

A recent article from Science Scope in March 2012, a publication for science teaching published by NSTA, had some suggestions for resources on the topic.  This video was one of them: 

1 comment:

  1. G'day Rebecca

    Modern day science has gone the way of the churches during the dark ages, power & money rule over any logical actions.