Environmental Issues Research and Presentation

Image Credit: NASA
Image Credit: NASA

Earlier in the school year, to cap off our unit on the environment, my 6th graders completed an environmental issues research project and  presentation. This project was a great opportunity for the students to demonstrate both their public speaking and tech skills, as well as provide a forum for student-directed learning. Each student had a chance to teach their peers about their topic and lead a demonstration or activity related to their environmental issue. They did a fantastic job and came up with activities that really enhanced their presentations. The students were engaged and supportive of their peers.

Just a few examples of their demonstrations/activities: 

  • Noise Pollution – using a decibel app, one student asked the class to take part in different activities and monitored the noise level. The student then compared the noise level in the classroom to their equivalents such as jack hammers or traffic.
  • Garbage Patch – using a tray with an ocean/coastal scene decorated with items attached to magnets, one student demonstrated how gyres in the Pacific Ocean move plastics from the coast to the Great Garbage Patch by sliding magnets under the tray.
  • Poaching – each student took part in a role-playing game modeled after “Assassin/Spy”. Each student was given a role card (such as an elephant, tiger, or poacher). As they played the game, students had to find the poacher to save as many animals as they could.


  • List of 50 environmental issue topics (pdf)
  • Detailed project requirements (pdf)
  • Peer review sheet (pdf)
    • this was for personal note taking, not shared with the presenter


  • Day 1 – Introduction and pre-research, students pick their top 10 choices
  • Day 2 – Students pick topics and brainstorm 10 guiding questions to help guide their research
  • Day 3 – Discussion in small groups, students share questions and modify
  • Days 4 to 7 – Research phase
  • Days 8 to end – Students present topics

6 thoughts on “Environmental Issues Research and Presentation

  1. Amy Porter November 10, 2021 / 10:47 pm

    Do you have a editable version of the 50 topics? I’d like to change the Superfund Sites in NY to KY.


    • Liz Belasic January 6, 2022 / 7:00 pm

      Sorry, I do not, but feel free to make your own version using mine as a template.


  2. Annette Freund March 28, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    This is a great project! I am have my 6th graders working on it now. Did you by any chance create a grading rubric for this activity that you could share?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz LaRosa March 28, 2017 / 7:09 pm

      Hi Annette, So glad you are using this with your 6th graders! I’m sorry I don’t have a grading rubric that I can post, if you create one and are willing to share it, I’d be happy to add it to the site. Thanks! Liz


  3. Brittany Moss January 23, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Do you have a copy of the “assassin/spy” role play game on poaching? I’m teaching Environmental Issues this week and they would love that!


    • Liz LaRosa January 26, 2017 / 8:36 am

      Sorry, I do not have it, one of my students created the game and used it as part of her project a few years ago.


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