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Classroom Activities

THE FALCON: Hunter and Prey "In the News"

Falconry, a sport in which a human hunter works with a trained bird of prey, is ancient. However, animal-rights activists and some environmentalists condemn falconers for the keeping of raptors. Another faction of environmentalists opposes the restoration of raptor populations because the birds prey on other threatened species. Some hunters claim falcons interfere with their hunting because raptors prey on game birds.

Objective: As a result of this activity, students will be able to objectively express the content and context of opposing issues and report on areas of conflict related to opposing issues and viewpoints.


View the standards correlated with these activities.


A "live" in-class presentation or videotape of a news show segment ("60 Minutes" style).



Videotape of "A Falconer's Memoir" for background information for the activity; videotape of segments from a news show demonstrating components of the segment that the teacher want incorporated into this activity; (videotape presentation) video camera and videotape.



  • The class, in groups of 6-7 students, will act as production teams for a ten-minute segment on a weekly television news program. Their task is to produce investigative reports on a recent confrontation between local falconers and animal-rights activities, environmentalists, or hunters (individual groups choose one of these.) Be sure to require depiction/reporting of non-violent confrontations.
  • The teacher may want to have students view "A Falconer’s Memoir" in its entirety for an excellent overview of how falcons are raised to hunt, the tenuous relationship between falcons and humans, and the philosophy of falcon restoration. Refer specifically to video segments at 5:20, 5:23, and 5:28.
  • The teacher may want to give examples of kinds of confrontations (demonstrations, "sit-ins," peaceful gatherings, etc.)

Examples of situations involving environmental disputes may include:

  1. Environmentalists trying to save a small endangered bird called the red-cockaded woodpecker and landowners who make their living by raking up fallen pine needles and selling them for gardening purposes. (North Carolina)
  2. Environmentalists concerned about loss of sensitive wetlands and habitat and developers building an expressway in Florida.
  3. Politicians, business people, and environmentalists expressing differing views on Canada’s new endangered species bill.
  4. A variety of environmental conflicts summarized on ECONET highlights.
  5. The current "Jesus is a vegetarian" billboard campaign across the nation and the resultant backlash from both vegetarian and meat-industry factions.
  6. Conflicts between people opposed to wearing fur products (e.g. PETA) and the fur industry. Conflicts have included many demonstrations and incidents of opposition groups throwing blood on fur coats.
  • In their segments, groups should report on the details of the incident, the reasons given by both sides of the issue for their actions, background on the issues and the validity of the stands taken/issues, and expert third-party opinions on possible solutions to the conflict.
  • Teachers may wish to use information found in the following for background resources:

RESOLVE: Center for Environmental and Public Policy Dispute Resolution Web Site


  1. Bibliography
  2. Process of consensus building
  3. "What is Consensus-Building and Why is It Important for Resource Management?"
  • Each group should divide production duties such as research and writing and "on-air" roles such as reporters and participants (actors) in the conflict. If the product is a videotape, additional roles such as videographer, "grip," etc. will be needed.

Language Arts Standard 4:

Gathers and uses information for research purposes.


Level III (6-8):

Uses a variety of resource materials to gather information for research topics (card and

computer catalogs, books, periodical literature, newspapers, journals, etc.)

Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways.

Writes research papers.

Level IV (9-12):

Uses a variety of resource materials to gather information for research topics (card and

computer catalogs, books, periodical literature, newspapers, journals, etc.)

Uses a variety of primary sources to gather information for research topics.

Determines the validity and reliability of primary and secondary source information and uses information accordingly in reporting on a research topic.

Synthesizes information from multiple research studies to draw conclusions.

Writes research papers.

Creates bibliographies for research topics.


Language Arts Standard 8:

Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.


Level III (6-8):

Uses explicit techniques for oral presentations.

Identifies strategies used by speakers in oral presentations.

Listens to and understands the impact of nonprint media on media consumers.

Level IV (9-12):

Adjusts message wording & delivery to particular audiences and for particular purposes.

Uses a variety of explicit techniques for presentations.

Makes informed judgments about nonprint media.


Behavioral Studies Standard 4

Understands conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions.


Level III (6-8):

Understands that being a member of a group can increase an individual's social power

and also can increase hostile actions toward or from other groups or individuals.

Level IV (9-12):

Understands that conflict between people or groups may arise from competition over ideas, resources, power, and/or status.


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