Energy, Society and Place Research Unit

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham

Energy in GEES toolkit: Work in small groups and role-playing

Work in small groups gives students an opportunity for active participation and critical thinking on a specific task or topic in a real-life situation. At the beginning of the exercise, students break up into small groups (preferably from 3 to 5 students). Each group is provided with a topic and specific instructions about the aim of and the expectations from the exercise. In addition, each group can also be asked to assign a:

  • Group leader (facilitator) – is responsible for facilitating the group discussion in a way that the given task is achieved. The leader should also make sure that all members of the group have an opportunity to participate and contribute to the discussion.
  • Time recorder – checks the time allocated for discussion
  • Presenter – presents the results from the work in small group in front of the classroom

The students can also be given other types of specific roles representing real life situations.

Example: Preparation of a ‘Local energy efficiency plan’

The aim of this exercise would be for groups of 3 to 5 students to prepare a ‘Local energy efficiency plan’ for a particular community. A profile of the community should be provided, including information about: the local socio-demographic characteristics; the key economic activities; the main sources of energy production; some data about local energy consumption; the built fabric in the area (description of the style and age of the local houses and buildings). The students can be assigned roles such as: a city council representative, NGO representative, local residents, representative from the gas company, a GP, a representative from the local business community. At the end of the allocated time (around 40 minutes) each group should present their local plan in front of the classroom. The students from the other groups can comment on, and ask questions about, the presented plan.

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