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Resolving human-wildlife conflict – a role-play lesson

Are you looking for an engaging way for students to learn about the impacts humans and animals have on one another? This lesson will help students learn about how humans and wildlife interact and ways to resolve or reduce conflict.

Part 1: Introduction

Show students the video Pronghorn Face Modern Challenges from Nat Geo Wild.

Have a discussion about migration patterns, interactions between humans and wildlife, and the impacts that humans can have on wildlife. You can see a full set of discussion questions on the Lesson Plan.

Part 2: Reading Activity

Individually or in groups, have the students read the article How Can Cheetahs and Farmers Get Along
published in Science Journal for Kids and Teens. Answer the assessment questions at the end of the article (teacher’s key available on the same page). Discuss as a class.

  • What is the cheetah’s habitat?
  • How do they use the land?
  • What do the farmers use the land for?
  • What was the conflict?
  • What should farmers do to avoid problems with cheetahs?
  • How were the researchers able to help find a way for both the cheetahs and the farmers to use the land and get what they needed?
Read: How can cheetahs and farmers get along better?

Part 3: Group Presentation

Students will work in groups to research and learn about a human-wildlife conflict and steps to resolve it. If needed, students can complete the Human-Wildlife Contact Presentation Handout (found at the bottom of the Lesson Plan). Students will create a 5-minute presentation to present to the class. They can choose to create a visual aid for their presentation if time permits.

Part 4: Conflict Mediation Role-Play

In this activity, students will play different roles in conflict resolution. Some students will be representatives of the animals’ interests. Some students will be representatives of the humans’ interests. Some students will be mediators. Students will be able to think about opposing points of view and work together to come up with a solution. By the end of the activity, the students must come up with a solution that remedies the human-wildlife conflict.

Part 5: Writing Extension

If time allows, students can choose to complete one of the following writing activities:

  1. Write to a local council member or state representative. Describe a local human-wildlife conflict. Suggest
    possible steps to mitigate. End with a request.
  2. Do research to find another example of a human-wildlife conflict that has improved thanks to effective
    mitigation strategies. Describe the conflict and the steps taken to mitigate it. End with your opinion.
  3. Research an animal that has become endangered or went extinct due to human activity. Describe the animal,
    its original habitat, and its needs (food, shelter, etc.) Then explain how humans caused changes that made it
    difficult or impossible for the animal to survive.

That’s not all!

Don’t forget to check out the extra resources located on the article’s page and browse for other related articles on our site, including an audio version of this article and a translation into German.

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