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Sample Dilemma Story


To ensure children master the 7Cs Core Principles, we anchor children's learning with dilemma stories. Here is a sample dilemma story.


Grandpa Ruben started . . . "The year was 2005. There were 6.5 billion people in the world, like you, Gabriella and Juan, and me. Five percent of them suffered from a shortage of water. That’s 325 million people." Grandpa Ruben went on. "That’s almost the entire population of the United States. Can you imagine our entire country without water?" Grandpa Ruben asked? Juan didn't seem to care much about grandpa Ruben's story but Gabriella seemed interested. Grandpa Ruben continued, the population now, December 2019, is 7.6 billion people. 

Juan asked: "How do you know that grandpa?" "I always check at https://census.gov" Grandpa Ruben replied. Juan was impressed. "It's a real time population clock grandpa," he exclaimed! "I'm glad that it excites you, Juanito," Grandpa Ruben reflected. "That's cool grandpa," Gabriella chimed in. "Yes, Gabriellita, and I predict that by 2025 there will be over 8.1 billion people."


Noticing that both Gabriella and Juan were now engaged, Grandpa Ruben continued, "did you know that according to some forecasts, over 3 billion people are likely to suffer from water shortage in just six short years?" Juan was deep in thought. Gabriella wanted to know more about Grandpa's prediction. "Why is that Grandpa?," Gabriella asked. 

Grandpa Ruben answered that "there are both natural and artificial causes for this, Gabriellita. A lack of precipitation is one cause. You know what precipitation is, Juanito?" Yes Grandpa, Juan replied. "It is rain, hail, or even snow when the clouds in the sky open up, Grandpa." Beaming proudly, Grandpa Ruben said: "You are both caring children and I am so proud of you both, mi Juanito y mi Gabriellita."


Gabriella was still curious. "Is that the only reason, Grandpa?" "Low ground water reserves is a second major natural cause, mija" Grandpa Ruben answered. "In our lovely city, San Antonio, Edwards Aquifer is our groundwater source. Unfortunately, ground water pollution and wrong uses of land are man-made causes.", Grandpa Ruben mused, "al fin." 

How will you respond to Grandpa Ruben's story, if you were Gabriella or Juan? What are you going to do? Why?


At 7Cs Academy, we are on a mission to inspire every child, like Gabriella and Juan, to think critically, solve problems, and seek to improve their communities using such dilemma stories. As the guru of disruptive innovation, Clayton Christensen observed, we want everyone to "be anxiously engaged in a good cause."


*Facts for this story were based on resources in the Siemens-Stiftung Media Portal and The New York Times.