Before You Research
Life/Personal/Social Science Topics
Great Lakes Ecosystems
Develop the Problem Statement
Now that you have a better understanding of the problem and how
it affects your local community, it’s time to write the problem
statement that they will solve or address in the challenge.
Then have them work together to write a specific problem statement based on reliable data. Also make sure that your problem statement:
Related to the selected topic?
Based on scientific data, information, or observation? In other words, do you have evidence that it’s a problem?
Able to be solved using a student-developed solution?
Specific enough that you can find a starting point to help solve it? Statements that are too broad can be somewhat unmanageable.
- Write Out Your Problem Statement.
Sample Problem Statements
Fertilizer and animal waste run-off from our local fields is
resulting in an increase in the nitrate levels in the local streams and
our local bay. The increased nitrate levels promote algae growth and can
harm fish and shellfish by reducing oxygen levels. (Reducing Runoff in the Environment)
The older homes in our city were built at a time when mercury
switches and thermometers were commonly used. Mercury is highly toxic,
especially to children and animals, and discarded switches and
thermometers are showing up in the local landfills. The mercury in them
can be exposed, endangering the community. As more things are discarded,
it is more likely that people and animals will be exposed to mercury. (Reducing Mercury Poisoning)
At our school, 65% of children are driven to school by parents, even
though 50% of the students live less than a mile away from the school.
Using EPA calculations, we estimate that the additional gasoline usage
per week, including waiting in line, is around 60 gallons and the CO2
emissions are around 528 kilograms per week or 21 metric tons per school
Writing Your Research Paper
Here is the contest description of task: Describe the inquiry-based research your team did to identify the focus of your project. Include below a clearly
defined problem statement that defines the issue and shows evidence of how it is a problem in your community. The
problem statement should be developed using both personal observations and collected data. Be sure to include
citations for researched data.
Limit your response to 800 words.
- Please write your essay/paper on your blog. We can use that text in the application process.