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The mysterious island (ENG)

Examine how a sustainable community can be created through wise and informed decisions.


Examine how a sustainable community can be created through wise and informed decisions.





The exercise is deliberately openly designed for the teacher to be able to adapt its complexity to students’ prior knowledge and available time.

Set aside at least one full day for this exercise, or distribute the same time over several occasions.

  1. Divide the students into groups of 4-6. Hand out the following material to each group:
    – Big papers, 1-2 per group
    – A4-papers or smaller notes (about ¼ A4), 5-10 per student
    – Pens, crayons, paint, brushes
  2. Each group gets to outlines for the exercise. Let the groups contemplate around the plans and their own ideas for the exercise on how to build their society. Plan for a good life at ”the mysterious island”
    – The island lies in the middle of a vast ocean, without contact with other islands or the mainland.
    – You and your fellow humans are going to stay on the island for at least 10 years.
    When you leave from there, others should be able to continue living on the island.
    You should try to live so that nature is not damaged.
    – The climate on the island is about the same as where you live, with seasonal changes; years, summer, autumn and winter etc.
    – You can bring the people you want to bring, except those in the group – it can be friends, siblings, relatives, parents, acquaintances or strangers that you have met.
    – You can use known technology, yet have no ability to obtain outside assistance such as food, repairs and so on while you are on the island.
    a, Four sub-tasks that must first be resolved:
    Population: How many are going to stay on the island? Who should stay on the island?
    How and where will you live? How will you take care of your waste?
    Supply: What will you live off of on the island? What will you do? What must you be
    able to know how to do? How do you get water, food, clothes, furniture, etc.?
    Transportation: How will you transport yourself and the things you want to bring?
    Energy: How are homes heated? What do you need electricity for and how do you get electricity?
    b, What will you bring?
    c, What should the island look like for you to have good opportunities to live there?
  3. Reflect together on the four sub-tasks in the exercise. Brainstorm! Write down all the issues you need to resolve relating to the sub-tasks. Write clearly on the flip chart.
  4. Collect all groups’ questions and tape them up on the wall. Help each other to find answers to the questions = collaborative problem solving.
  5. Draw your island. Use a large sheet of paper, one or two flipchart pages large. Start by sketching in pencil. Are there lakes, mountains, forests, swamps, beaches, fields,
    meadows, roads, paths, houses?
  6. Get the E-cards out. E-cards tell about different services that nature provides. Deal the cards around the table in the group so that everyone has about the same number.
    Read one card at a time – where on the island are the ecosystem services? Do you have to ensure that certain services are on the island in any way? How? Where?
  7. Work further on the island. Remember that all or most of the ecosystem services must be on the island.
  8. Presentation. When the time for the task is up, you should present your island to the other groups.
    a, Tell us about the island and how you solved the various issues.
    b, Tell us about three ecosystem services you think were important to ensure that they were on the island. How did you make sure they were there and how did you use them?
    c, Are there any experiences/pieces of knowledge from your problem-solving work that could be used in our surrounding environment?
    d, How would your mysterious island function without the existence of nature in and around it?
    e, What can you do to ensure that nature’s free services will continue to function as well as possible?
  9. Evaluate the work
    Discuss together with the class:
    – How did the work go? Was it difficult? Was it fun? Why?
    – Did you gain any new insight? What?
    – Have you learned something important?

This exercise comes from the material Nature’s services.

Dela gärna:

Senast ändrad 04/06/20

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