It's Time to Plan and Implement Your Project!
STEP 1: BRAINSTORM IDEAS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
You can make a difference! After your class has identified a local problem related to the phenomenon you have been investigating, consider possible projects to help solve it.
- Work in teams of 4 - 6 people
- Allow quiet time for each person to brainstorm project ideas individually
- Then share your ideas with other team members
- No criticism of ideas when they are first suggested
- It's fine to piggy-back on each others' ideas
- It's also fine to come up with ideas that are different from anyone else's
- Here's an article about how to brainstorm successfully
STEP 2: CONSIDER THESE PROJECTS TOO
Click the button to check out some projects that other students have done. Look for those that were designed to solve similar water quality problems to those you face. How do these projects compare to the ideas your team brainstormed? Are there any project components you would like to adapt and use, perhaps in combination with an idea you brainstormed? [Note: Supplies for the Storm Drain Marking Project are provided in the ecoSTEM Water Kit.]
STEP 3: SELECT A PROJECT FOR YOUR TEAM TO PITCH TO THE CLASS
Reflect on all the project ideas in terms of the following criteria. With your team members, agree on one project that your team will pitch to the class.
- Need: Does the proposed project meet a real need? How will it help solve the problem?
- Timeframe: How much time would it take to do the project?
- Cost: How much would it cost for supplies, equipment and other project expenses?
- Feasibility: Is it realistic for students to do this project? What help might be needed?
- Impact: Will the project have significant results compared to other possible projects?
- Sustainability: Will the project have lasting value? Will it need to be continued?
- Safety: What equipment, rules and/or training are needed to keep everyone safe?
- Support: Will school administrators and community members support this project?
- Access: Can students get access to the project site and authorization to proceed?
- Measurable Outcomes: How will you measure the benefits to the environment?
Wonderful ideas are not always feasible as school projects. Narrow down the ideas to the most do-able projects and then agree on one that your team will pitch to the class.
Step 4: PLAN THE PROJECT
Prepare a presentation that will wow and persuade your classmates to select your team's project, including:
- An "elevator speech": a clear and convincing explanation of the project, including how it helps solve the problem
- A timeline showing all the tasks that need to be done, and who would do them
- A budget for project supplies, with ideas for obtaining the funds or items needed.
- Every team member should be prepared to give the elevator speech and to answer questions
Present an Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is a quick and convinving description of your project, the problem it solves, and why the class should select this idea. It's called an elevator speech because it should take place in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator (between 30 seconds and 2 minutes). Imagine you step in, the doors shut and you realize you are are in an elevator with someone who could authorize your project. You only have the time until you get to another floor and the doors open, to "sell" them on your idea. What will you say? Practice your speech. Every team member should be prepared to present, even if there is not time for everyone to do so. Also, every team member should be ready to answer questions afterward.
Plan a Project Budget
To the left is a project budget calculator, allowing you to total the cost of your project.
Simply enter each item name, the source where you will get the item, and how much it is going to cost. If the item will be donated, list the cost as 0 and make a note in the Source column. You can add more items as required.
Once all the supplies have been added, press calculate to display the total cost. Take a screenshot of the Project Budget to add to your Project Portfolio.
NOTE: Enter ONLY numbers in the "cost" field!
Make a Timeline
Using Shapes or SmartArt on your laptop; or the template linked here; or a free Timeline maker app, create a timeline of project tasks and approximate dates when each should be completed. One way to do it would be to list dates in the center of the project progress arrows and describe tasks in the connected text boxes.
STEP 5: SHARK TANK! PITCH YOUR TEAM'S BEST PROJECT IDEA
Create a rubric to use when comparing project pitches. Listen to pitches from all the teams. Throw each team a compliment on the strongest part of their proposal and then ask a thoughtful question. Rate each team's pitch according to your rubric. Vote for the one you think will have the biggest impact on solving the problem AND be most feasible to accomplish.
The Power is Yours!
STEP 6: It's time to ACT! Do the water quality project your class chose. Remember to take pictures and document the project before, during and after it is completed.
Assess Your Effectiveness
How do you know whether your project was a success?
ASSESS the effectiveness of your efforts. Reflect on whether you accomplished all that you planned to do; whether the project had the desired effect; and whether your class worked effectively together. Did you, personally, contribute good work?
STEP 7: PROJECT COMPLETION
One way to assess your project is to consider whether it was completed as planned. Did you do the work that was originally proposed? Were changes made along the way? If so, did the changes make the prject better or worse. Did the project fit in the timeframe that was available? Were you able to get the supplies and materials that were needed? Did it turn out the way you thought it would?
STEP 8: PROJECT IMPACT
Another way to assess the project is to consider whether it had the desired effect. Did it accomplish what you hoped it would? How can you tell? Will more time be needed before the impact can be observed or measured? If so, who will follow up and when?
STEP 9: PROJECT PROCESS
A third way to assess your project is to consider whether it was a good learning experience. Was there an opportunity for everyone in your class to contribute to the project? Did everyone pull their weight? Did you learn much about water quality? In retrospect, might there have been a better way to divide up responsibilities and accomplish tasks? Was doing this project worthwhile, compared to the opportunity-costs (meaning: compared to what else you could have done with your time and energy)? Do you feel empowered to solve a problem and make a difference in the world?
This Project Rubric and Self-Reflection Survey can be used to assess the project itself, your own contribution, and how well your team or class worked together. As an alternative, design your own rubrics.
Document the project in your Portfolio with images, labeled diagrams, text, and other artifacts