Public Lab Research note

Workshop VI: How can an environmental study effect change?

by mimiss , purl | May 16, 2019 18:46 16 May 18:46 | #19433 | #19433

This lesson is part of a series of lessons designed for educators to facilitate student-led inquiry around environmental topics. If there are time constraints, this lesson can be split into two at the Elaborate portion of the lesson. During Phase I of this series, students work towards identifying and learning about environmental topics.

You can learn more about this series here.

You can access this lesson plan as a Google Doc here.


Time: 85 minutes


Guiding Question: How can an environmental study effect change?

Objective: Connect study design to study goals and begin designing the environmental monitoring the students will start.


Time: 15 minutes

Have students suggest one thing that they’d like to change about the school. Write that idea on the board. Ask the students to list some ways that they would achieve this change. For example, if they want to get rid of school uniforms, some steps might be having students sign a petition, get teacher support, or have students design a new dress code. Make note of the student’s ideas.

Have students look at each idea that they’ve come up with. For each ideas, students should be able to explain how that action leads to the desired change. If they’re unable to do it, see if they can come up with changes to the proposed action that help to align it more clearly to a goal. In the example above, students might change “have students design a new dress code” to include students researching dress codes from other local schools.


Time: 10 minutes

Students take another look at their individual study designs. Can they find a clear link from their each activity presented in their study design to the goals of the study? If not, what can they do to align their mini-study to their goals?


Time: 20 minutes

Students will break into groups based on the topic their mini-studies covered. First, students will share with one another their individual plans. Students should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each plan, focusing on:

  • The different ways that students used the same tools
  • How each design supports their study goals
  • What pieces of each study design can be combined to create the best possible study


Time: 30 minutes Design an Environmental Study:

Each group will create a “master plan” to present to the group. While students will ultimately make a verbal presentation to the class, they should write their project down in a place where they can reference and share it. This could be in the form of a poster, on a whiteboard, or on a collaborative digital document such as a GoogleDoc. Their write-up/presentation should cover: - The question they are asking - The tools/methods they’ll use - For each tool: - Frequency of use - Length of time the study will cover - What type of data it will produce - How to analyze that data - Share plan for their project

As a group, students discuss the collective study proposal as it stands. Students are encouraged to reference their rubrics and use them to identify strengths and weaknesses of this plan.


Time: 10 minutes

Share: Update Your Project Page Students will create a research note that update the Public Lab Community on their progress. This note should include their detailed project plan and alignment with their goals. Student should also write about their perceived weaknesses so that community members can help to brainstorm ways to overcome it.

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