Plan It

Step 3 challenges students to brainstorm about and propose a feasible solution to positively impact their community problem, and then to plan how they will implement that change. Changes could be physical such as planting trees, raising juvenile oysters for a sanctuary or reducing runoff to a local stream. They could be behavioral such as convincing local residents to use recycled bags at the grocery store or to buy detergent with the lowest amount of phosphates. Or they could be political such as persuading the local government to build a park, evaluate lead hazards or insulate buildings.

Teams can come up with a completely original solution or they can build on the work and ideas of others. The solution they choose must be testable or measurable so that students can determine its impact on the problem. Once teams have identified their solution, they will develop a plan to implement it. Their plan should include each action step they will take, who will be responsible for it, a timeline for completion, and how they will measure whether it is working to impact or fix the problem. It’s important that all team members are involved and that plans are well-defined, manageable and flexible, if changes are required.

The "Plan It" Worksheet Procedure

  • What Could Be Done?

  • What Will Be Done?

  • How Will It Be Done?

The Criteria

Is your solution?

  • Based on science?
  • Doable?
  • Measurable?
  • Likely to impact or fix the problem?

Does your plan?

  • Seem realistic?
  • Include specific action steps?
  • Include all team members?
  • Involve members of your community?
  • Use scientific inquiry or a scientific approach?
  • Include how data will be collected or measured?
  • Include specifics on how you know that the plan is working?
  • Show a timeline for completion?

Blog Entry/Application Response

Share your team's action plan, including project steps, roles of each team member, timeline for completion, necessary resources, and your plan to measure whether your potential solution is working to impact or fix the problem.

Limit your response to 450 words.

Sample Changes/Solutions:

  • In order to reduce the runoff from local fields, we plan to investigate how riparian buffers (grasses, shrubs and trees) can reduce nitrate runoff from a field into a nearby ditch that empties into a creek. We will take nitrate measurements of the water in the ditch and in the creek before and after the treatment. We will then encourage the planting of riparian buffers by local farmers wherever runoff from a field occurs in our community. (Reducing Runoff in the Environment)
  • The mercury collection drive will result in a measurable number of items removed from homes and a reduced amount of mercury in the community. Our goal will be to collect at least 500 items that contain mercury. We estimate that this would be a reduction of 20% of the total amount found in local homes and businesses. (Reducing Mercury Poisoning)
  • The main reasons that students are driven to school instead of walking are that it takes less time, there are no pathways or sidewalks running from the nearby housing development directly to school and parents are concerned for student safety. We have determined that there is a location for a pathway or sidewalk that will save time. We will lobby the local government to help get it built. We will also begin a walking challenge with rewards from local businesses for the number of days that students walk to school instead of ride. (Take a Hike!)