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Middle School: Grade 7 Climate Change Research


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Climate Change Research Project



1. Choose a topic related to climate change that inspires you. (see list below of possible topics).

Remember a  good explanation of something has a:
                    Claim: What you  know?

                    Evidence: How you know that?

                    Reasoning: Why your evidence supports your claim?

2. Gather evidence through research and use reasoning to explain why your evidence supports your claim.

(3 classes, March 28- April 4)

3. Present your ideas to the class (slide presentation; stop go animation; imovie; poster; cartoon etc.)

(April 5-7). Your presentation should be a minimum of 4  and maximum of 5 minutes.

4. This is not intended to be a research paper nor completed at home.

Project Checklist:


_____ A. Choose a claim statement.

_____ B. Choose two important relevant vocabulary terms and define in your own words.


_____ C. Provide a summary of your topic (general overview of the problem, solution etc).

_____ D. Include 3 convincing pieces of evidence that support your claim from 3 different reliable sources.

_____ E. Have at least 1 graph used to present information that supports your argument. You should be able to fully explain the graph including the details and main message.

_____ F. At least 2 appropriate pictures or diagrams that strengthen your argument or help explain, document or visualize the evidence.

_____ G. Minimum of one map related to your topic that strengthens your argument, include date and source.


_____ H. Explain how all  of your evidence  supports your claim. Be a middle school expert on your topic and be able to answer questions related to the validity of your evidence. Fully understand all points of view such that you can answer questions that would be presented from the skeptic or alternative viewpoints.
_____ i. Tell us about  one “thing” you are willing to commit to that will make a positive impact on climate change. Be clear about how your commitment will make a positive difference (try and link your positive impact  back to your evidence).

_____ J. Practice! You should not have to use note cards or read directly from slides etc when presenting. You will be marked down if you do! Be ready to really educate and persuade your audience with a presentation that is engaging and no longer than 5 min.

Possible topics and related claim statements:

What is the evidence that supports the global climate is changing?

1. Data has been collected from thousands of years ago when humans were not even around or able to collect data. (proxies, corals, sediments, ice cores, fossil records etc.)


2. Current weather data collected in a variety of ways. (tools, technology, accuracy, weaknesses)


3. The level of greenhouse gases and average global temperature has changed over time. (human population growth, volcanic activity, solar flares, natural cycles etc.)

What evidence is there that supports climate change is caused by humans?

4. Human behaviors have caused or contributed to climate change. (CO2 production through burning fossil fuels, deforestation, desertification, tar sands etc.)

5. Resource use by humans has changed over time. (which resources are used by who, future predictions, where are the remaining resources and what conflicts may be involved in who uses the resources, which resources are and will be most scarce in the future)

What evidence is there that our climate warming has already caused negative effects?

    6. Arctic ice is melting.

7. Glacier ice is melting.

8. Some animal and insect populations are drastically declining.  (polar bears, bees)

9. There is a great species extinction under way.

10. Extreme weather events are increasing. (hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms)

11. Coral reefs are dying. (acidification of the ocean along with temperature increasing)

12. Global water shortages and dangerous heat waves are common. (crop loss, human death, desertification)

13. Sea levels are rising. (floods, loss of land displacing people, thermal expansion, melting ice)

14. There is a rise in tropical diseases and pandemics.

15. The permafrost is melting releasing methane gas.

16. Ocean currents are changing. (El Nino, La Nina)

17. The melting ice is causing a decreased albedo effect.

What are possible solutions to this global challenge?

18. We currently have the technology to solve future global warming transitioning to full green energy use. (green energy, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal etc.)

19. There are innovative technologies that can replace fossil fuels. (solar cars, electric cars, solar water filtration systems, methane gas recycled from garbage dumps etc.)

20. Local action, politics and education are a large part of the solution to this global problem. (Kyoto protocol, Greenpeace, NASA, United Nations, local groups etc.)

21. The grief and hopeless feeling people often feel when addressing Climate Change is real and must be overcome to move forward with positive action. (stages of grief, how to stay positive, what motivates people to take action or give up, etc.)

Rubric for Evaluating Climate Change Presentations







__Clearly stated. Gains audience attention.

__ Thoroughly explains two relevant vocabulary terms, using student vocabulary.

__Clearly stated.


__ Explains two relevant vocabulary terms using mostly student vocabulary.

__Stated but unclear.


__ Explains two vocabulary terms some student vocabulary.

__Not stated so focus of presentation unclear.

__ Lacking explanation of vocabulary terms.


__Thorough initial overview  of topic.

__ 3 pieces of evidence clearly presented with reliable sources.

__ 1 graph & map with well presented interpretation that clearly supports claim.

__ 2 appropriate pictures/diagrams that strengthen the argument.

__ Presenter is

knowledgeable, interesting, logical, and supporting information clear.

__Thorough initial overview  of topic.

__ 3 pieces of evidence clearly presented with reliable sources.

__ 1 graph & map with well presented interpretation that clearly supports claim.

__ 2 appropriate pictures/diagrams that strengthen the argument.

__ Presenter is

knowledgeable, interesting, logical, and supporting information clear.

__ Basic initial overview  of topic.

__2 or 3 pieces of evidence presented may be lacking reliable sources.

__ 1 graph & map with presented may not fully explain or support claim.

__ 2 pictures/diagrams, may not strengthen the argument.

__ Presenter shows very basic

knowledge of the topic,  lacking logical, and supporting information.

Does not demonstrate understanding or clear evidence through research. Lacking graphs and / or supporting information.

__Lacking sources.


__ Clearly explains reasoning/ how all evidence supports claim.

__ Clearly understands contradicting arguments and alternative viewpoints.

__ Personal commitment is reasonable and will be effective.

__Brought the presentation to a logical and effective closure. __Engaging and persuasive.

__ Explains reasoning/ how all evidence supports claim.

__ Understands contradicting arguments and alternative viewpoints.

__ Personal commitment is reasonable.

__Closure was somewhat effective.

__Somewhat engaging and persuasive.

__ Lacking effective explanation of  reasoning/ not all evidence supports claim.

__Little understanding of contradicting arguments and alternative viewpoints.

__ Personal commitment is not reasonable.

__Closure could be more clear.

__Lacking engagement and persuasive nature.

__Lacks reasoning.


__Lacks reasoning.


__Not engaging


__Not persuasive.


__Clear visual aids.

__Clear presentation (does not use notecards etc; speaks clearly, effective pauses, engaging for audience)

__Can answer any questions with confidence and knowledge.

__Visual aid but not clear.


__Clear presentation with the help of notecards or looking at visual aid.


__Stumbles with some of the class questions.

__Visual aid looks sloppy or rushed.


__Constantly needs to look at visual aid to explain topic.


__Unable to answer most questions.



__Presentation unclear and appears unprepared.


__Unable to answer questions.




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