Simulation: Yum Yum Trees - Conservation of Resources

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Science, Earth and Space Science, Social Studies

Grade 5- 8


Students devise at least one possible solution to the problem-solving presented in this lesson. They will name at least three renewable and three non-renewable natural resources that are subjects of contemporary conservation measures.


Divide the class into cooperative learning teams. Ask each team to choose a representative or spokesperson.
Pass out copies of The Yum-Yum Tree Dilemma and Yum-Yum Territory Map to each student. Orally review the dilemma with them as they read silently to themselves.
Have teams convene in a brainstorming session for three to five minutes. All possible ideas for solving the dilemma should be presented by team members without censorship.
During a subsequent three- to five-minute session, teams should begin to eliminate those solutions with unfavorable consequences for the Ube tribe. Using general consensus, each team should settle upon what they believe to be their single best solution to share with the class.
Each spokesperson should share his or her team's solution with the class and field questions from classmates and/or the instructor. Any idea should be accepted if there is evidence of critical thinking in the team's decision-making process.
After all teams have shared their suggestions, conduct a discussion regarding the question of what might have caused the extinction of the Ube's yum-yums. While some students may suggest natural causes for the extinction of the yum-yum trees, others will undoubtedly bring up the point that the tribe over-harvested the trees without regard to eventual consequences. Make a connection between this observation and similar damage which has occurred in the world's present environment. Other questions to ask might include, What possible cost did the Ubes face because of an error in conservation? Are there any lessons in the dilemma of the Ubes that pertain to society today?
Next, discuss the meaning of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Give some examples of each to stimulate thought, then have teams or individual students make a list of renewable and/or non-renewable resouces that are the subject of conservation measures in the local, national, or global community.
This problem-solving activity presents several topics for investigation. While there are no definite right or wrong answers for this dilemma, certain solutions have more potential than others. For example, the Ubes may decide that it's better to send small bands of people to obtain yum-yums, or that seeds might be brought back from the excursion instead of entire trees. However, all student-generated solutions should be considered. Whatever solutions are generated, be sure to use the activity to discuss not only how geography determines how people live, but how contemporary people have risked their future by showing an uncontrollable appetite for natural resources.


  • The Yum-Yum Tree Dilemma (one copy per student)
  • Yum-Yum Territory Map (one copy per student)

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