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Alternate Activity 4: Ripples and Waves

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, Butterfly and Wave
  • Optional: Art materials, including paper and drawing utensils
  • Optional: CD player and background music

Preparation for Activity

  • If you decide to use background music, have CD player and music ready.

Description of Activity

This activity uses the butterfly effect to talk about ecology.

Refer to Leader Resource 1, Butterfly and Wave, used in Activity 4: Round Robin Story. One way of looking at the painting is to ask if the butterfly will be crushed by the very wave its actions caused. Facilitate a discussion on how this aspect of the butterfly effect applies to ways that human action has affected the world’s ecology.

Ask participants to think of an action by humans that has had greater effect than we thought possible. Examples include hunting animals to extinction, introducing non-indigenous flora and fauna to habitats, factory farms that release tons of methane gas into the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect, antibiotics that prevent a disease, but cause bacteria to morph into more virulent strains, and many others. However, there are positive effects too: efforts to introduce legislation to prevent slash/burn technique for clearing land, creating lists of endangered animals and methods to protect them, and the increase in purchasing compact fluorescent light bulbs, are a few. See Find Out More for resources on the environment.

If you wish to move this beyond discussion, present the art materials and invite participants to create their own artwork detailing a particular cause/effect. It could be modeled after the painting in Leader Resource 1 or in any style they choose. You might choose to concentrate on human actions that have positive effects. Play background music, if you wish, during the drawing. Give the group ten minutes to draw and save five minutes for sharing the artwork.

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