Climate Change is a Problem for New York City

 

Mark Lee - New Design Middle School

mlee@newdesignmiddle.org

 

water.jpg

 

 

Introduction

 

Itís a summer day at Riverbank State Park, not too far from where you live. The community enjoys this wonderful place with its ball fields, running track. From the park, you can see the tugboats on the Hudson River pushing barges back and forth. Some parts of Riverbank State Park are about 10 feet above sea level. Water is never far away in New York City. Weather is everything here.

 

Your group has been hired by Stay Cool, New York, a non-profit organization with a mission to communicate issues surrounding climate change to residents of New York City.

 

 

Task

 

Your task today is to research the science behind climate change, its impact on New York City, current policies, and to brainstorm new solutions you can communicate to New Yorkers through a single-sheet paper. You will complete a worksheet and use it to help you create a single-page flyer. Your worksheet will show the process by which you collected evidence and came to your policy conclusion. Your flyer will be based on your worksheet and will briefly describe the problem, explain several main causes supported by evidence, and recommend a policy for addressing the problem. Your final product will be assessed according to the rubric at the end of this document, summarized as follows:

     Flyer text and graphics should be clear and meaningful, accurately reflecting research done by the group and documented on the worksheet

     Worksheet and flyer will communicate a policy, and show evidence of logical reasoning using relevant evidence and credible sources

     Identification and discussion of three or more sources of human impacts upon climate (Worksheet)

     Recommend a policy that is well supported by research, claims, and analysis (Worksheet and Flyer)

 

The flyer should be attractive and informative. Strongly consider making a draft or two prior to starting your final product. Text copied and pasted from another website will result in a 0 rating in the first three standards. Citations should be in quotes and the source named. All underlined words and phrases in this document are links. Use them.

 

 

Process

 

You will be in groups of three or four students. One or two students will do the research on climate change causes and effect, particularly as they relate to New York City, especially Manhattan. One student will concentrate on flyer layout, images, and design. This student may use either a computer (Google Docs) or create the flyer by hand. One student, the director, will oversee the written content of the flyer based on the other studentsí research, and all group membersí input. The director should also ensure that all group members are going through each of the steps of the Public Policy Analyst (PPA), a tool for making policy related to a social problem and should manage the completion of the Worksheet by group members.

 

Process: PPA Steps

Define the Problem

Is there a relationship between climate change and New York City? What is that connection? Do humans have an impact on weather? If so, how? Your problem should be a single sentence that addresses these issues. Since this statement will be the focus of your other work, write it carefully. Use the resources listed in the next section. All group members must agree on your statement that defines the problem.

 

Gather the Evidence

You wonít be able to write about causes or solutions unless you first research your problem. What do experts say about it? Who seems most believable, and why do you believe them? Your two researchers have the primary job of examining the resources for answers to these questions. The researchers should use reliable sources, write down what they learn, and share their findings with the other group members. Text copied and pasted from another website will result in a 0 rating in the first three standards. Citations should be in quotes and the source named. Donít stop after finding the bare minimum; research more than you need, then choose the best.

 

Identify the Causes

Once you have an evidence-based statement of your problem, what do you believe, based on your research, are the causes of the problem? Find at least three main causes. Text copied and pasted from another website will result in a 0 rating in the first three standards.

 

Evaluate Existing Policy

What are people and societies already doing about this, if anything? If there are policies, are they good ones? Are they being enforced properly? Researchers and other group members should work together on this.

 

Develop Solutions

What solutions does your group recommend? Again, stick to just a couple of the best ones. Base your proposals on all of the work you have done through the PPA up to this point.

 

Select the Best Solution

Finally, choose the best solution, taking into consideration its effectiveness (how well it is expected to work) and its feasibility (just how possible it is to do).

 

Balancing effectiveness and feasibility is tricky. When something works well, it is effective. When people can and will actually do it, it is feasible. For example, people hurt their heads from time to time, either from falling down or being struck by something. If everyone wore helmets all the time, we could drastically reduce head injuries. It would be very effective. But people donít want to wear helmets all of the time. Itís not very feasible. Consider whether your solution balances effectiveness and feasibility. Include this analysis in the presentation of your solution.

 

Resources

 

So What, If the Earth Gets a Tiny Bit Warmer?

Climate Change: How Do We Know?

Climate Basics

A Studentís Guide to Global Climate Change

Talking to Children About Climate Change

Impacts of Climate Change on New York City

Climate Change, New York City, and Flooding

Congress and Climate Change (Current Policies)

 

 

Evaluation

 

 

4

3

2

1

RST.6-8.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

Student accurately cites specific and reliable textual evidence to support analysis of issue using at least three sources.

Student reasonably accurately cites reliable textual evidence to support analysis of issue using two or three sources.

Student cites reliable textual evidence to support analysis of issue using one or two sources.

Student cites at least one source to support issue with marginal reliability.

WHST.8.1.B

Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

Student fully supports at least three claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

Student supports two or three claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using somewhat accurate, credible sources and demonstrating some understanding of the topic or text.

Student supports one or two claim(s) with some reasoning and† evidence, using reasonable sources and demonstrating some understanding of the topic or text.

Student makes at least one claim and supports it with some evidence, demonstrating some understanding of the topic or text.

WHST.8.1.E

Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

 

Recommended policy solution is very well-supported by prior claims and current policy analysis.

Recommended policy solution is reasonably well-supported by prior claims and current policy analysis.

Recommended policy solution is somewhat supported by prior claims and current policy analysis.

Recommended policy solution is poorly supported by prior claims and current policy analysis.

NYS 2.2r

Substances enter the atmosphere naturally and from human activity. Some of these substances include dust from volcanic eruptions and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor. These substances can affect weather, climate, and living things.

Student accurately identifies multiple (3+) sources of greenhouse gases and the effects of human-caused climate change.

Student† identifies two sources of greenhouse gases and the effects of human-caused climate change.

Student accurately identifies a source of greenhouse gases and the effects of human-caused climate change.

Student does not identify any source of greenhouse gases and the effects of human-caused climate change.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Now that you have a policy proposal and a message based on evidence and solid research, you are able to publish your message with the community. You may also send a copy of your flyer to a local representative and write a letter asking them to prepare or support a bill in Congress to make your policy law. Congratulations! You are helping to make the New York City, and the world, a better place.

 

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Standards

 

RST.6-8.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

 

WHST 6-8.1.b

Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.

 

WHST.6-8.1.e

Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

 

NYS Intermediate Science 2.2r

Substances enter the atmosphere naturally and from human activity. Some of these substances include dust from volcanic eruptions and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor. These substances can affect weather, climate, and living things.