Science Matters: The Case of Rare Earth Elements

Stewards Playing Guide

What Is a Steward?

In The Case of Rare Earth Elements the Stewards are representatives elected to a Stewardship Council responsible for determining a set of guiding values for a new Sustainability Seal addressing the issues surrounding the mining, production, and consumption of rare earth elements. As a Steward you must ensure that the final set of guiding values addresses the problem in a practical, manageable way. 

In order to consider as many opinions as possible, the Stewardship Council has convened a Summit of rare earth element experts. During the Summit you will ask questions and gather information to determine what will ensure the best set of guiding values. Without a clear opinion about what is best, you are ready to be persuaded by the experts. 

It is important that as one of the decision makers, you gather as much information as possible throughout the game so you can make well-reasoned judgments and pick the best regulation proposal. 

The Role of the Steward

Preparation: When you received your role assignment, you were also assigned an interest group. You must become an expert on this interest group. Review the group’s goals and recommendations, read about its positions, and attend its meetings strictly as an observer. Before the Summit you will meet with the other Stewards to share what you have learned and prepare the questions you will ask.


  • Write two questions you want to ask your assigned interest group during the Summit.
  • Write a one-page analysis of your assigned group’s main arguments.

Summit: Your primary goal during the Summit is to moderate a discussion among the interest groups and to learn as much as possible about all of the groups and their arguments. Begin with the questions in the Student Introduction, asking groups to clarify their responses as necessary. Then proceed to the questions written by you and the other Stewards. Although these questions are directed to specific interest groups, encourage the other groups to respond as well.

Intersession: You will observe the working groups as they prepare their proposals. Listen closely to their ideas, and prepare questions for the Debate but do not participate in their discussion.  

Debate: In this final section of the game each group will present its proposal for the Sustainability Seal guiding values, and you will ask questions about each proposed regulation. When the Debate concludes, you will vote on which proposal to accept for the final set of guiding values. You will also determine which of the four interest groups made the strongest contributions to the winning Sustainability Seal by ranking them in order. Points will be awarded for the winning proposal and to each interest group based on their ranking.

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