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Island Paradise

Island Paradise

Developed by Eleanour Snow, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

How to cite this work: Snow, E. 2011. Island Paradise, TXESS Revolution,, Date Accessed.


The case study presents the story of Easter Island, and its ecological collapse. It is written as a jigsaw, in which students receive part of the story, and make predictions about what will later happen. They work out their ideas with a group who has read the same part of the story, and then switch to mixed groups who have now the whole story.

The story works well as a starting point to a unit on population and sustainability. The story evokes many questions from the students that naturally lead into a discussion of Earth and it carrying capacity.

Research and Testing of This Activity

This activity was implemented in the following teacher professional development workshops: (1) TXESS Revolution PDA 8 (2011). The TXESS Revolution project is funded by the National Science Foundation Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences program under NSF Grant No. 0703687. Feedback from teachers was used to refine the activity.


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Activity rating by TXESS Revolution Teachers in PDA 8B, 2011 will be entered in the near future.