Activity 1: Kāhili Ginger Values and Perspectives
Materials & Setup
- One copy of the “Perspectives” acetates (master, pp. 8-9)
- Overhead projector and screen
For each group of three to four students
- One perspective card from “Kāhili Ginger Perspectives” (master, pp. 10-11)
Be sure that at least one group has each of the four perspective cards. More than one group may have each perspective.
For each student
• Student Page “Kāhili Ginger Information Sheet” (p. 12)
• Student Page “What’s Your Perspective?” (pp. 13-14)
Class Period One:
1) Show the whitetip reef shark acetate to the class. Engage students in a brief discussion.
- “What is this?”
- “What’s your reaction to it?”
- “What would your reaction be if you were snorkeling or diving and you saw one?”
- Different people have different perspectives about sharks. Some people think they’re neat, some think they’re scary, some are so fascinated that they spend their whole lives studying them, some want to kill them, and some think they should be left alive.
2) Ask students for ideas about what can change people’s perspectives. Write a list on the board or overhead. Here are some ideas to insert:
- Perspectives can vary in different situations,
- Having more information can sometimes change a person’s perspective, and
- Listening to other people’s point of view can change our opinion, bring up questions we may not have thought of before, or give us a broader perspective. People who speak especially passionately or articulately may be able to change the way other people think or feel about a topic because of their strong beliefs, ability to speak convincingly, or well-constructed arguments.
3) Show the kāhili ginger acetate to the class, showing only the photo and covering up the printing at the bottom of the page. Ask, “What is this?” Make sure everyone knows it’s kāhili ginger, but do not go into more detail.
4) Divide the class into groups of three to four. Give each student a copy of the Student Page “Kāhili Ginger Information Sheet” and each group one of the perspective cards from “Kāhili Ginger Perspectives.”
5) Uncover the bottom of the kāhili ginger acetate, so students can read the proposal. Each group’s assignment is to develop a short, compelling, persuasive response to that proposal, from the perspective given on its role card.
6) Give groups 15-20 minutes to develop their responses. Then ask a spokesperson from each group to present the group’s response, making it as dramatic, full of feeling, and persuasive as possible.
7) If there is time at the end of class, discuss with students how well they were able to take on another person’s perspective. Did they agree or disagree with the perspective they had to work with? Which of the group responses seemed most compelling? Why?
8) As homework, assign the Student Page “What’s Your Perspective?”
Class Period Two:
1) Ask students to define the word “values.” Values are commonly defined as things (such as principles or qualities) that have inherent worth or desirability. Ask students to come up with some examples of values and write them on the board or overhead. Some examples of Hawaiian values include mālama (caring), laulima (working together), ho‘omanawanui (patience), ʻohana (family), and lokomaikaʻi (generosity).
If students have difficulty generating a list of values, ask a few students to volunteer to tell the class something that’s really important to them. If it doesn’t seem basic enough to be a value, ask the student why that’s important, and keep asking the question until you get to the level of basic values.
2) Tell students that there is a different but related way of using the concept of value. Write the phrases “intrinsic value” and “instrumental value” on the board or overhead. Briefly discuss what the terms mean by first asking students for their ideas. Then bring in the following definitions and write some examples on the board or overhead:
- Intrinsic value — Worth or desirability that is ascribed to something simply because it exists. This type of value is also known as “existence value.” Intrinsic value systems include spiritual and aesthetic perspectives.
- Instrumental value — Worth or desirability that is ascribed to something because of what it can do for people (or a person). Instrumental value systems include cultural, ecological, economic, educational, personal, legal or recreational perspectives.
3) Brainstorm some examples of how these different types of values would affect someone’s actions or preferences. For example, someone who saw a fish as having intrinsic value might prefer to leave the fish living in the ocean. Someone who saw the fish as having primarily instrumental value might prefer to catch it and eat it.
4) Ask for a show of hands from students who believe Hawaiʻi should enact a law banning the propagation, sale, and distribution of kāhili ginger. Then ask for a show of hands from those who disagree. Finally, ask for students who aren’t sure to raise their hands.
5) Have students divide into three groups: those who support the law, those who oppose the law, and those who aren’t sure. If no students raised their hands for one group, then have only two groups. Give groups 15 minutes to identify and make a list of the beliefs and values that underlie their positions.
6) Now have the three groups reassemble. Have a spokesperson from each group read the list of beliefs and values. After each list is read, discuss the types of values (intrinsic and instrumental) and the value systems (e.g., aesthetic, cultural, economic) that each group expressed.
7) Wrap up the class by asking students to discuss the importance of values in decision making. Did the values of the three groups seem similar or different? If they seem different, do students think that explains the different positions of each group? If they seem similar, what else do students think could explain the differences among the groups’ positions?
- Think of an important decision you’ve made and discuss why you decided the way you did. What values influenced your decision? Did anyone try to get you to change your mind? Did it work? Why or why not?
- Discuss how protecting native rain forests could be important to someone who ascribes primarily intrinsic value to the forest and by someone who ascribes primarily instrumental value to the forest.
- Do you think the fact that a nonnative plant such as kāhili ginger has been given a Hawaiian name changes people’s perspective about the plant? Why or why not?
- Can the value of kāhili ginger be weighed against the value of intact native rain forests? How would you compare or evaluate the two? Why?
- Student Page “What’s Your Perspective?”: Evaluate on the basis of the quality of student reasoning and articulation.
- Participation in class discussions and group work
- Journal entries