Teaching Students About Keystone Pipeline
The Keystone Pipeline has been a significant topic of discussion, debate, and controversy over the past few years. As educational professionals, it is essential to bring these discussions into the classroom to encourage critical thinking and foster discussions among students. In this article, we will explore methods to teach students about the Keystone Pipeline, covering its history, its potential impacts on society, and the arguments surrounding its construction.
Understanding the Basics
To begin teaching about the Keystone Pipeline, it’s essential to lay the foundation for understanding what it is and its purpose. In simple terms, it’s a pipeline system located in Canada and the United States that was designed to transport oil from Alberta to multiple locations in the U.S., including Illinois and Texas. The project was proposed in 2005 by TransCanada Corporation (now TC Energy) and first constructed in 2010.
A comprehensive lesson should also include historical context, as this may provide some necessary background information for students to understand why there has been so much debate around this topic. It’s valuable to discuss the economic needs leading up to the proposal of the pipeline and how oil extraction methods like tar sands play into this discussion. Adding stories from communities affected by the pipeline’s construction can help students grasp why these events are essential.
Exploring Pros and Cons
A crucial aspect of teaching about issues like the Keystone Pipeline is presenting both sides of the story, encompassing various perspectives and opinions on whether or not it should have been built. This enables students to engage with diverse perspectives and teaches empathy for understanding others’ viewpoints.
On one side, proponents argue that the Keystone Pipeline provides economic benefits such as job creation and increased access to affordable oil. It also bolsters North American energy independence by relying less on foreign sources of oil.
On the other hand, opponents of the pipeline raise concerns about environmental issues like climate change (due to the high carbon footprint of tar sands oil), potential oil spills, and the disruption of Indigenous communities along the pipeline route.
Debating, Discussing, and Reflecting
Once students have a comprehensive understanding of the Keystone Pipeline’s history and its pros and cons, they can engage in a debate or discussion on the topic. This may involve dividing students into groups with designated viewpoints, organizing town hall-style meetings, or discussing issues as a class.
Encourage students to research examples of similar pipelines or energy projects that have been debated in terms of economic benefits versus environmental impact. In their discussions, students should aim to synthesize ideas from various sources to form unique perspectives.