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Social Studies Research Collaboration

Our middle and high school students joined together for a Social Studies Research project that focused on the impact of climate change and the need for analytical thinking, collaboration and consensus building.

Acting as members of the Department of Defense Security Climate Task Force, the eighth graders worked in teams and visited different “interest groups” (teams of high school students) who used current events, multimedia presentations and even games to convey that their issue is top priority and that immediate action needs to be taken to keep the United State safe and secure.

Ultimately, the five teams needed to debate and decide as a group which issue would receive $300,000,000 in funding.

The teams spent time hearing about urgent and emotional issues ranging from flooding and contaminated drinking water to the climate effects of the coffee industry and the danger of greenhouse gases.  Some were familiar to the students, like the drinking water issues in Flint, Michigan, while others happening on the other side of the world didn’t seem, at first glance, to have much of an immediate impact.

After much consideration, deliberation and even some heated negotiation, the teams decided that greenhouse gas emissions posed the most urgent threat to the safety and security of the United States and therefore would receive their recommendation for funding.

Back in reality, Ms. Kellachan’s eighth graders were thrilled with the experience and delivered a giant thank you card to Dr. Jacobs and her high school students to show their appreciation for their time, patience and guidance through the research process. Many of the middle school students hope to continue with social studies research and look forward to being on the presenting part of this project when they get to high school.