The Poplar Dilemma

The ‘Poplar Dilemma’ evaluates whether personal orientation and religion of youths play a role in their decision-making concerning ecological questions. Based on the initial research a tool was devised, which can be used by educators.


“Six months’ ago, a young family with two children your age bought a house in your neighbourhood and moved in. In the garden and belonging to the house, is a big tree, a 50-year-old poplar. After a short time, one of the children developed a severe allergy against poplar pollen. Your new neighbours’ have now decided to cut down the tree.

What do you think about your neighbours’ decision?”


The every-day dilemma situation offers an interesting opportunity, to explore ecology within the Religious Education classroom. Supplemented by the newly devised tool, there are a multitude of ways to use the ‘Poplar Dilemma’.

The research on the ‘Poplar Dilemma’ was a joint effort with the AG Didactics of Biology of Prof. Dr. Daniel Dreesman at the Johannes Gutenberg University. Therefore the “Poplar Dilemma” can be used in interdisciplinary settings.

On this page you will find tips and suggestions on using the ‘Poplar Dilemma’ in the classroom as well as an overview of current research.

We look forward to hearing how you were able to use the tool in your classes!


For more Informations on the Dilemma-Tool click here, to learn how to use the Dilemma-Tool in the classroom click here and to find out about research on the Poplar-Dilemma click here.