The Take Action Project 2.0 is a go: Pick an Action.

April 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM Leave a comment

The Launch: 

An excellent introductory assembly by the Alliance for Climate Education. Great speaker, wonderful graphics and the science was spot on. Saved me so much time and head/heart-ache to put something together.

Started class with two line-ups – over this side if you loved the assembly, other side if not, and anywhere in between. Talk to your neighbors about what was memorable. Then they report out. Very engaging. Vast majority liked or loved the assembly and, considering they were sitting on a concrete floor for 30 minutes, that’s a big deal.

Then ‘over this side if you are very concerned for the future, and over the other side if not.’ Talk to your neighbor. Share out. Turns out kids are much more concerned about the future than a survey of American adults of both political partners – only about 10% report being concerned as an individual according to this survey on a Scientific American blog “On Climate Change, The People Agree – Mostly“.

So, who will you work with? And what do you have to do? The two big project questions kids have.

Picking an Action:

a. Post-it Ideas

Kids started by talking and writing as many ideas for actions THEY could take themselves. Not what their parents could do, or what they want others to do. “Walk the walk before you talk the talk.” was the guideline. Kids were a little disappointed we were not tackling big issues head-on as we did in the previous version of TAP, and that they were not going to be doing fundraising which is a big deal in our community. Had to situate their small actions as ‘What if everyone did what you are planning? What big problem would that solve?

They wrote down a blizzard of post-its and put them on their periods’ giant white board. (SO handy – cut from cheap shower masonite at Home Depot.). Circulated, coaching about what (rather small) choices they can make in their lives – it comes down to stuff like switching off lights, brushing teeth in different ways etc. and varies a bit by family. I kept asking ‘will this action be okay with your family?’ I also pushed them do do something NEW, something they are not already doing, because it will give them insight as to how difficult it is to change a habit, and that will be helpful for the persuasiveness of their ad campaign in the final stage of this project.

I posted what we are doing every day in class online so parents are in the loop, and encourage changes if parents are uneasy about their idea.

Toward the end of the period, I organized their ideas by category ex. reducing trash, saving electricity etc. and invited all to gather around. I used stickers to highlight actions that could be particularly fun (aka social and creative).

b. Sentence Strip Challenges

Another whole period (really) on turning ideas into workable challenges that included some kind of measurable outcome, and posting their sentence strip. Really, really worth spending class time making sure they have a workable challenge for the longer term success of this project.

At the end of the day, I sorted the sentence strips into categories on each big white board.

The details are fleshed out in the guide sheets here. 0. Overview Student Intro 3 1. Action ideas 2. Pick a TAP action 3. Planning Projects 4. Tracking Actions and Difference You can also see the version with teacher notes and an introductory video at


Coming up next: Starting some research.


Entry filed under: Critical Thinking, Curiosity, Data Analysis, Environmental Education, Inquiry and critical thinking,, Project Based Learning, TAP Curriculum. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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