Skip to content
Support Provided By: Learn more
  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 11-12

The Ethics of Recovery: What Happens After an Industrial Disaster?


Industrial accidents are a fact of life in the modern world. Oil spills, chemical explosions, leaks of toxic waste, and other disasters can devastate individual lives and communities for generations. The lesson uses an Indonesian drilling explosion documented in the film, Grit, to explore what ethical and equitable recovery from such disasters might look like. Students will use role play and group discussion to explore how stakeholders can increase understanding and come to consensus about steps required to make everyone whole. The lesson can be adapted to focus on business ethics, safe science and engineering practices, government regulations and responsibility, civic engagement, or all of these.

In this lesson, students will:
Learn about Indonesia and a devastating drilling accident that occurred in 2006 with effects ongoing
Use discussion and role play to consider how emotional reactions and differences in goals can effect long-term response to and recovery from industrial disasters
Practice perspective-taking (standing in someone else’s shoes)
Create a reflection on what they’ve learned, either in writing, art, or a multimedia project


Subject Areas
Civics / Government
Global Studies
Earth Science
Ecology / Environmental Science
Research Skills
English/Language Arts

Film Clips and a way to screen them; Internet connection; a way for students to share lists

90 minutes plus homework

About the authors

Faith Rogow

Faith Rogow, Ph.D., is the co-author of The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (Corwin, 2012) and past president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. She has written discussion guides and lesson plans for more than 250 independent films.