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Student Activity - Ethics in fire science

Activity idea

In this activity, students develop critical thinking through ethical discussion of the question: Should chemical fire retardants be added to furniture?

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • use developing science knowledge of fire to develop critical thinking when considering issues involved in adding chemical fire retardants to furniture
  • explore issues in adding chemical fire retardants to furniture and make decisions about possible actions
  • understand that technology (the development of chemical fire-retardants) has an effect on society – people in New Zealand have a choice whether or not to buy fire retardant furniture.

Download the Word file (see link above) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • common ethical approaches
  • round robin teaching approach
  • PMI worksheet
  • What do you think?(self-assessment worksheet)

Nature of Science

Work in science often leads to ethical issues that involve many more people other than the scientists. People in society must consider the effects that science has or will have on society and make decisions about these. In the case of chemical fire retardants, there are issues of concern for the fire service, the consumer (and their families), furniture manufacturers, the environment, the government (law-makers) and others.

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