Return to the Wild - Evolving perspectives on Canadian wildlife

Lesson plan: The Pine Beetle: Attack and Counter-attack?


Grade Level:

Social Studies Grade 10

Time Required:

Two classes required to allow for effective planning and writing time.


This lesson plan offers students the opportunity to investigate the differences between two different perspectives on the pine beetle’s infestation of Alberta’s forests. Students will explore economic and social issues related to the topic. How has the pine beetle affected Alberta’s forests? How important is it to maintain Alberta’s forests? What economic benefits does forestry provide? What actions has the Alberta Government taken in response to the pine beetle’s infestation? What environmental impact did these activities have upon the surrounding area as well as globally? Who are the stakeholders involved in making decisions regarding Alberta’s forests? What lessons can be drawn from this example and applied to other situations? Each student will be required to write a position paper/argumentative essay on the topic.

Main Objective

In writing a position paper, students will recognize and appreciate how the world’s citizens have become increasingly interdependent which requires certain responsibilities associated with globalization. Students will realize that they are not able to exist in isolation, and that problems which originate elsewhere, may have consequences in their own backyard.

Curriculum Connection

Alberta Social Studies Grade 10

S.1     develop skills of critical thinking and creative thinking
S.3     develop skills of geographic thinking
S.4     develop skills of decision making and problem solving
S.6     develop age-appropriate behaviour for social involvement as responsible citizens contributing to their community
S.7     apply their research
S.8     demonstrate skills of oral, written and visual literacy

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Write a position paper/argumentative essay.
  • Explain the economic and social consequences for two different perspectives.
  • Evaluate the information presented and come to conclusions that explain the differences and similarities between two perspectives.
  • Draw conclusions supported by reasonable arguments about the topic/issue.
  • Use a variety of sources to defend one’s position on the topic/issue.




Teacher introduces topic by providing a few articles on the pine beetle.

Lesson Development

Teacher directs class brainstorm then guides and prompts students with questions to consider in generating arguments for each viewpoint.


Teacher will give a summary of most important arguments of each viewpoint and provide an example of a well-written paper for the class to review.



Students engage in reading of assigned articles.

Lesson Development

Students review sources given them then work independently to develop arguments for each viewpoint.


Student will write a position paper and may present their conclusions in small groups.

Lesson Extension

This lesson may be extended by having an in-class debate. This lesson may be modified by encouraging students to research different sources to support their conclusions. It is possible to challenge the more academic students by having them draw more complex conclusions as they relate to both economics and resources as well as time, continuity and change within a globalizing community.

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