gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Decision Making – Should there be a New Jersey Bear Hunt?

on March 18, 2014

5th graders spent the last few weeks using decision making skills to help make the best decision about whether to have a bear hunt in New Jersey.   As populations of bears have exploded in New Jersey over the last 30 years, there have been more frequent reports of black bears entering yards in northern New Jersey.  Habitat loss and development has meant less space for the bears to live in the state. Students played the roles of wildlife biologists, family with young children, land developers, hunters, and animal activists.  Each group researched useful information reading several recent articles about the bear hunt.  Students examined the clear values of each perspective and used sound reasoning from both their “head” and “heart” to make the best decision.  3rd graders and fourth graders were invited to the town meeting to listen to the groups share their perspective of the hunt.   One fourth grade class voted on the hunt and believed a modified hunt of 300 bears per season was the best decision to stop the problem of frequent bear/human interactions.  A fourth grade class and third grade class voted that there should not be a bear hunt in the state.  The Town Hall Debate helped show the students the complexity of environmental decisions we make every day in our community.

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