Tragedy of the Commons

Driving Question

What free resources around us are abused, overused or collapsing?
How can we restore these resources to a better state?

Big Idea

Planet Earth is a finite space ship. We must treat it with care. Students research overused, abused and collapsing public local resources, then create and present solutions to a rich audience.

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Student Entry Event


Students Will Learn

  • The meaning behind the metaphor, “Tragedy of the Commons”
  • To recognize problems of shared resources
  • How to conduct applied research, including interviewing and possible fieldwork. 
  • To use math modeling skills to consider the consequences of various actions
  • Many "soft skills" required for 21st Century careers
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Students Will Be Able To

  • Work in small teams addressing a local problem of resource use, possible abuse, and corrective management  
  • Define problems, when there is no right or wrong answer
  • Use math functions to solve problems of shared resources
  • Compromise with team members to move forward in their work
  • Organize and structure their approach
  • Use data and interviews
  • Present final results
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