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Peggy G. Welch
Jessamine Co. High School
Nicholasville, KY. 40356

Students will:

  1. research a scientific topic centered on a local issue
  2. write a position paper defending that stand, and
  3. present a position on the issue to the class in a manner combining research, resourcefulness and creativity.

TIME:1 -2 weeks


  1. VIDEO- "What They Say About Hunting." Council for Wildlife Conservation and Education, 1993 (20 minutes). [This video is very well done. It discusses both sides of the issue] Address for ordering a copy: Council for Wildlife Conservation and Education, 11 Mile Hill Rd. Newtown, CT 06470

  2. ARTICLE- Miller, John A. and Irwin Slesnik. " Difficult Decisions: Should Modern Man Hunt?" Science Teacher Magazine, Nov.1989.

  3. SCENARIO CARDS (see below)
    1st day
      Ask students to write down their opinions about hunting. Then ask if any students are willing to share their opinions. Show the video and have students take notes on the pros and cons of hunting. For homework, ask the students to read the article and continue taking notes on the pros and cons of hunting.

    2nd day

      Class discussion on the video and the article. At the end of class, students draw a role play card for the debate. Students have 2-3 days to continue research on the issue; learn their part and create a costume and name tag.

  4. DEBATE:
    The particular dilemma under consideration is the overpopulation of deer at the Bluegrass Sportsmen's Club. The deer have been protected from hunters and are very tame, but there are also reports of the deer causing damage, and suffering from overcrowding. The governing board of the Sportsmen's Club decided to thin out the deer by allowing children of club members to shoot the deer using muzzle-loading rifles. Thus, the following scenarios refer to this problem.

    Cut out the following role-playing descriptions and distribute them to students. The student can read the statement to get the discussion started, but need not be limited to the comments provided. This is a simulation and students may be playing a role which may not agree with their own personal opinion. Ensure them that this is O.K. and that more fun can be had by trying to fight hard as their character. Assign a time limit for each speaker which fits the schedule. Those students who draw blank papers make up the board members. They take notes and write down questions that they will ask after all the speakers are finished. At the end of class, the board members vote and the decision is shared with the class.

    Jessamine County Wildlife Management Expert - Dr. Mary (Mark) Antler
      It is impractical to relocate excess deer. They are too tame and will not make it in the wild. The only recourse is to destroy several deer. We have received many complaints of crop damage. They might be destroying native plants growing near the club property.

    President of Humanamort - Mrs. (Mr.) Betsy (Ben) Trapit
      I manufacture a large walk-in trap which can be used to destroy the deer humanely. These traps would need to be employed over several months time in order to be effective.

    Superintendent of Conservation for the Jessamine County Forest Preserve District - Mr. (Mrs.) Greg (Gert) Greenwood
      Because of the unique location of this area next to Jessamine Creek, there is a wide variety of plant life. An inventory done in 1990 revealed 50 different plant species. Some of these wildflower species are already on the endangered species list. Many elm trees, their barks peeled off, by deer are being destroyed. The diversity of plant life and subsequently animal life in Handy's Bend is threatened by the overpopulated deer herd.

    Bluegrass Sportsmen's Club president - Mr. (Mrs.) Stan (Jan) Sportsman

      The hunt was approved overwhelmingly at a general meeting. After some research, it had been approved by the board of directors, who strongly supported the hunt. I have heard few complaints from the club members. We applied for this hunt because the deer are destroying crops that we plant for other wildlife. We would like to have a Christmas farm out here, but the deer already mowed down the young landscape pines.

    Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources: Deer Program Coordinator - Bill (Barb) Bass

      A state-sanctioned survey by club members in which deer are counted at night using spotlights, found an estimated one deer for every seven acres of club property. For the rest of Jessamine County, the average is 1 for 57 acres. Serious problems can develop if the population reaches one deer for five acres: starvation, over browsing, and parasite development.

    Any number of additional roles can be created. We developed quite a few, including

    • Bluegrass Sportsmen's Club member - Ken (Kathy) Shotgunblast;
    • Infectious Disease Department at Central Baptist's Hospital in Lexington - Dr. Ruth (Roger) Tick;
    • Environmentalist Teresa (Ted) Treehugger;
    • Bluegrass Sportsmen's Club Youth Member - Ray (Rachel) Rifleman;
    • Citizens Committee to Save Jessamine County Deer - Bobbie (Bob) Bambihugger; and
    • Bluegrass Sportsmen's Club member - Nick (Nan) Naturelover

    As an extension, students write a position paper on hunting for the local paper. This serves as an excellent entry in their writing or biology portfolio. Criteria:
    • Title
    • Introductory paragraph
    • Arguments for hunting paragraph
    • Arguments against hunting paragraph
    • Student's own opinion on hunting based upon feeling and fact
    • Closing paragraph Cite at least 3 references.

Sample grading rubrics



My part in the debate is _________________________. I need to make a name tag with this name on it. I can also dress the part by wearing

My speaking part is

My grade will be determined by:

  • name tag (25 pts.)______
  • dress (10 pts.) ______
  • speaking (35 pts.)______
  • TOTAL (70 pts.) ______


Paragraph One-This is an introduction. Tell the reader why you are writing this paper about hunting. Talk about the controversy, but do not give any opinions or reasons for and against hunting. It will be a short, general paragraph.

Paragraph Two-This is the paragraph for the pros of hunting. Include at least 3 arguments in favor of hunting.

Paragraph Three-This is the paragraph for the cons of hunting. Include at least 3 arguments against hunting.

Paragraph Four-his is the paragraph for your opinion. Include at least three reasons why you feel the way you do. End with a concluding sentence.

After the fourth paragraph, skip a line and then write the word REFERENCES in the middle of your paper. Double space. List the three references, in alphabetical order, from which we obtained our information. Use the proper format, including indentations and punctuation. These include the video, the magazine article, and the newspaper article.


    Paragraph one (10 pts) _____
    Paragraph two (24 pts) _____
    Paragraph three (24 pts)_____
    Paragraph four (24 pts)_____
    References (18 pts)________
    TOTAL (100 pts) __________

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