For students to discuss and debate an issue from environmental, social and other angles.


Facilities to play videos.

Video 1 (pro)

Video 2 (contra)


Senior Cycle:

I.Basic Communicative Proficiency, 4, 8, 9, 10

II. Language Awareness, 2, 5

III. Cultural Awareness, 1



Show students a map of the world pinned to the whiteboard. Ask them to imagine they have a ship, like Christopher Columbus, and want to travel to India – ask them to try to find the quickest way. Invite students to come up and draw their routes on the map.

After they have drawn some routes draw a line on the map to represent the Panama Canal and explain that there’s a canal that allows ships to pass quickly through the middle of the continent of America.

Explain that Nicaragua wants to build another canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. But some people don’t want the canal to be built. Show two videos – one for each side of the issue.



Students divide into groups – one group will discuss the benefits of building the canal, another group discusses the disadvantages. Students can use the internet to research the question, ‘school in the cloud’ style.

Groups then take turns to make their points and rebut the points made by the other group.

In the end students hold a free vote on whether they think the canal should be allowed to be developed. Pick out some students and ask them to explain their position.



Students discuss the following questions – in English or Spanish.

Which is more important – the economy of a country (that people have jobs and enough to eat) or the wildlife and traditional lifestyle?

Is there a way we can have both – a strong economy that also protects the environment and traditional ways of living?

Are there any animals in Ireland under threat of extinction. Invite students to research endangered animals in Ireland and to look into how they can support organizations working to protect them.