Activity: Problems with Rivers



  1. A PNI is a unique way of looking at an idea, problem, solution or scenario. The "P" is the Positive side of the idea, problem, solution or scenario; the "N" is the Negative side, and the "I" is the Interesting or unique side of the idea, problem, solution or scenario.

  2. PNIs help students develop a different perspective which can lead to more careful analysis. It also allows students to have an opportunity to look at both "sides" of an idea before criticizing or pronouncing a judgment.

  3. Students should list in the PNI chart all of the positive, negative, or interesting aspects of the situation. They need to examine all the aspects before making a decision about the situation or problem.

  4. Modeling the Process: Using the PNI chart on a transparency, analyze the following situation. A few positive, negative and interesting ideas are listed below; however, students will come up with others. Write the ideas in the appropriate part of the PNI chart.

    Situation: Boaters must wear a life jacket while on the Tangipahoa River.

      P: Wearing life jackets save lives.

      N: Life jackets don't allow for a good suntan. Life jackets are bulky.

      I: Life jackets make us easily identifiable and can be personalized.

  5. Ask students to practice on the following idea:

    Situation: People who "tube" on the Tangipahoa River should pay a small charge for using the river, perhaps $1.00, to pay for picking up trash.




  6. Using the ideas presented here, complete a PNI for each idea.

      Idea: All dairy farms must have lagoons to trap cow manure.

      Idea: Until the Tangipahoa River is approved for swimming, no one should use the river for recreation.

      Idea: The land bordering the Tangipahoa should be available for building homes, shopping centers and schools.

      Idea: The moving water in streams is a good way to flush away hazardous material from boat building and painting facilities.

  7. In order to successfully complete a PNI, students may have to investigate topics such as: hazardous wastes, boat building, land development, land conservation, nature preserves, etc.

  8. Ask the students for ideas, problems or issues to analyze.

Analyze other critical issues of rivers in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin which focus on water quality. Sources of information about these issues would be the local newspaper, conservation newsletters or the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation newsletter. Make a PNI chart for each of these issues.

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