Introducing species

The weather today was forecast to be rainy again but the morning seemed dry, so I went out for a run while I could do so without getting wet. It was time for another 5k, and I agonised over whether to do laps of the oval, which is nice and flat, but incredibly boring, or do my street route, which is much more interesting, but also much more hilly. I decided I’d go for interesting, and grit out the hills. Given the humidity (91%), maybe it wasn’t the best choice, because I was struggling by the end.

And then it wasn’t helped by the fact that the footbridge I usually run across to cross the creek in the last few hundred metres was closed for construction work when I got there! I had to take the alternative route which goes down into the gully via a series of steps—about 30 or 40 steps—followed by climbing back up the other side. That slowed me down a lot, but I managed to finish the 5k in 30:15. Phew!

Today I worked on the new ethics class material for the week, on introduced species. Then I ran the class this evening with the first three groups of kids. The kids never fail to surprise, and really keep me on my toes. I’d written a sequence of questions beginning with the idea of culling to control introduced species that have become invasive and are serious pests, destroying native species and costing billions of dollars in crop damage (specifically starlings in North America). I’d kind of assumed that the kids would be okay with controlling the species in this way, and staged my follow-up questions based on that. But I was surprised when two of the kids in the first class said that culling should not be done, because it’s cruel, regardless of the fact that the birds cause immense damage. So I had to think on my feet and restructure the follow-up questions, to avoid it descending into a series of “Same as my previous answer” responses.

The next two classes went a bit more according to plan, but now I have some alternate pathways through the material depending on what responses the kids give to the early questions. I do this a lot with the classes. Usually by the end of the week the sequence of questions is quite different to what I started with, as it evolves every class.

New content today:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *