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Writing Across the Curriculum

Protocol for Group with Key Concepts

The following protocol for group work was created by Professor Juliana Maantay for her “Conservation of the Environment” and “Conservation of Natural Resources” courses. The protocol asks student to work together in small groups or “teams” (of 5-6 students) to create and test a definition of a key term. Students were given oral instructions for proceeding in the group, and were also asked to accomplish a specific task.

What is SUSTAINABILITY? And what kinds of activities are SUSTAINABLE?

  • In your group, begin by discussing the meaning of “sustainability.” Write down some of the criteria for sustainability that arise from your discussion.
  • Then, each member of the group should make a list of daily activities in his/her life and think about whether they are “sustainable” or “unsustainable,” given the team’s definition. Write “sustainable” or “unsustainable” next to each of the activities on your list.
  • Next, as a team, discuss in detail one of the activities identified as sustainable from each team member’s list. As you discuss each activity, decide how it fits the definition of sustainability.
  • As you complete your discussion of each group member’s activity, write down the activity and also a written explanation of how it meets the group’s criteria for sustainability. Which of the activities discussed best meet your group’s criteria for sustainability? Mark these activity on the page with an asterisk (*) and write down why you think so.