Environmental Science 100

Group Presentation Assignment

 

Objective

Students will work in groups of 3-4 to research and present one position on a controversial environmental issue.  Another group will be presenting an opposing position during the same class period.  There will be no written report for this assignment, but there will be a few written components to the project.  The entire project is worth 20% of your grade.

 

The Project

Group membership and instructions can be found under the Group Project link on the class web page.  Each group will turn in a series of assignments during the development of your project.  The due dates are designed to keep your group on task through the project.  (No pulling overnighters for this one!)  Note the date your project is scheduled.  Each assignment is due relative to that date.  All assignments (except the Powerpoint presentation itself) will be turned in to me by email.  Put your group name (including pro or con) in the subject line as well as in the assignment. 

 

1.       Preliminary works cited.  Select at least four references your group thinks will be useful.  Cite them by MLA standards (as taught in Engl 102, see also guidelines below).  Indicate which references are from peer reviewed journals (see below).  Submit your Preliminary Works Cited by email.  For online resources, include a link to the work with its citation.  For print resources, turn in a photocopy of the first page of each reference with your group name attached. 

2.       The annotated bibliography consists of your group’s finalized works cited with a summary of each reference.  Your summaries should be at least 3 sentences in length, including some of the critical information you use from each source.  Again, indicate which references are from peer reviewed journals.  Include links or turn in first page copies of any new articles. 

3.       Executive summary.  In presenting your position, summarize the major points and cite your evidence.  The text should be at least one page (single-spaced), and can be as long as three.  Include your works cited at the end.  (Include all references used in presentation, even if not all are cited in your summary.)  These will be posted on the class web page for others to study. 

4.       Presentation.  Assign part of the oral presentation to each group member.  Following an introduction to the topic by your instructor (see web site for text of background so you don’t duplicate it), each group will be allowed 15 minutes to present their position to the class.  The pro group will present first, the con group second.  When both groups have made their presentations, each group will be allowed 2 minutes to summarize their position or address points made by the opposition.  Discussion will be invited following presentations.   Each group will use PowerPoint during their presentation, and include both text and visual aids.  Cite your references in your text when specific evidence (such as data or quotes) is presented.  When using photos or other figures, credit the source as well.  I will do a PowerPoint demonstration in class early in the quarter.  Aim for about 15 slides.  Each group member must present to receive the presentation points. 

5.       Write four multiple choice exam questions based on your presentation.  Indicate the correct answer.  Be considerate of your classmates; don’t ask esoteric questions, or give choices difficult to differentiate (e.g. mercury emissions were reduced by 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%).  Submit your questions by email.  I will use at least one of your questions, but reserve the right to edit them. 

 

Timeline and evaluation

 

Due date

Points

Preliminary reference list and links to or copies of each article

two weeks before presentation

10

Annotated bibliography

one week before presentation

10

Executive summary

one class day before presentation

20

Presentation

see sign-up date

50

Exam questions

one class day after presentation

10

Self-evaluation

one week after presentation

None

Assignments turned in late will be worth 10% less each class day it is late. 

 

Each class member will evaluate each group, including your own, which will count for 25% of the presentation grade. 


Guidelines for References

You must use at least four references for your presentation; use more if you like.  Authors of your references should be authorities on some aspect of your topic.  They would include, for example, scientists who did primary research, professionals giving opinions based on professional experience, or journalists who interview several authorities.  At least two of your references should be peer-reviewed (critiqued by other experienced professionals), or from scholarly journals, most easily available to you through ProQuest or Ebsco.  Many other sources are available to you, including books and journals from the library, web sites, people (for expert information, not for opinions), and your textbook.   CQ Researcher provides a good overview of many of our topics.  It is not, however, a peer-reviewed journal.  I can help you choose some of your references.  Reference librarians and other faculty may be useful in directing you to references as well. 

 

The internet will likely be a good source for you, but choose your web sites carefully!  Many journal articles you find in print are also available online (and easier for you to get your hands on).  These are equally valid in print or online.  Remember, however, that any individual can “publish” anything they like on the web, without review by an editor or by peers.  Do not use:

·         any web site not backed by a valid publisher, academic institution, government agency, or reputable organization. 

·         blogs (unless from a reputable organization – I will evaluate individually)

·         web sites posted as class projects by other students

·         Wikipedia

·         videos

When in doubt, ask me if a web site or article is appropriate.  

 

Citing your references

Sources of information used for your presentations must be given credit.  Your group will turn in both a preliminary list of references, as well as an annotated bibliography.  Cite your references in the text of your PowerPoint presentations when specific evidence is given, and include your works cited in the last slide

 

Each source in your works cited list will be formatted by MLA standards.  Some examples are given below.  Help can be found at the Centralia College Library and the Writing Center.  The website Knightcite http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php will format citations for you.  Strongly recommended!

 

Example: Article from Journal

Becker, L. J. and Seligman, C.  “Welcome to the energy crisis.”  Journal of Social Issues 37.2 (1989): 1-7.

 

When citing an appropriate internet source, refer to guidelines Centralia College Library web page http://library.centralia.ctc.edu/mlaelectronic.pdf.  

Example: Article from online version of a newspaper

Ernst, Steve.  “Kittitas Valley Wind Project Generates Local Opposition.”  Puget Sound Business Journal 23.15 (Aug 16, 2002): 10.  ProQuest. Centralia College Lib., WA. 20 September 2004. <http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb>.

The general format is:

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title.”  Organization.  Date of access.  <URL>.

 

If an article you want to use does not give you this information (author’s name, publication date and journal), you should not use it as a reference for a research paper.

 

Help is also available for organizing and citing references at the Writing Center in Kemp 105.  Be sure to bring this description of the assignment with you. 

 

Presentation suggestions

·         Include key words or phrases in your visual presentation – not entire sentences or paragraphs. 

·         Do not read your presentation.  Use your visual presentation or note cards to cue yourself. 

·         Practice your presentation!  It will go smoother and you will be less nervous if you’ve run through it before.  Do this with your group so you coordinate your story and have people to act as an audience and give you feedback. 

·         Don’t spend too much time on tricky or fancy graphics or animations.  Your visual presentation should function to clarify what you say, not entertain your audience or distract them from the content. 

·         You will be graded on both content and clarity of communication. 


Working in a group

Merge all your work and turn in one copy of each assignment for the entire group.  Your work should appear and sound as if one person had done all the work.  Coordination within groups is critical, since each group shares one grade.  Make sure work turned in by your colleagues is up to your standards.  If you fail to connect with your group in a timely fashion, you may forfeit the project and receive a zero for the entire project. 

 

Group Presentation Assignment Topics

 

1.       Should the United States weaken the Endangered Species Act?  (Some issues to consider: whether humans should intervene in the natural process of extinction, rights of private landowners, scientific basis for listings, economics.)

Thursday, February 5

2.       Is genetic engineering a wise technique to use in agriculture and food production?   (Some issues to consider: increased food production, decreased or increased use of pesticides, food safety, labeling, intellectual property rights, ecosystem effects.)

Thursday, February 12

3.       Should we be producing more biofuels to reduce our dependence on foreign oil?  (Issues to consider:  economics, impact on food supply and prices, impact on biodiversity, domestic vs. foreign production)

Tuesday, February 24

4.       Should nuclear power be reconsidered as one of the primary sources of energy in the United States?  (Some issues to consider: reactor safety, disposal of waste, source of fuels, air pollution, global warming.)

Tuesday, March 3

5.       Should carbon offsets be promoted as a way to reduce global warming in the United States?  (Some issues to consider: types of offsets, regulation of offsets, effectiveness, use of offsets vs. other means of reducing greenhouse gasses)

Thursday, March 5

 

Note:  You do not need to personally support the position that you will be presenting.  The objective is to exercise your research and critical thinking skills and participate in public debate on environmental issues. 

 

 

 

Evaluation form

Each student will evaluate each group (including ones own group) based on the following criteria. 

 

Circle a number in each category for the entire presentation

Unaccept-able

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Content 

 

 

 

 

 

position was well-argued

1

2

3

4

5

supporting evidence was well-documented

1

2

3

4

5

appropriate level for an introductory college-level science class

1

2

3

4

5

good use of visual evidence

1

2

3

4

5

addressed questions from other students well

1

2

3

4

5

Communication

 

 

 

 

 

organized presentation

1

2

3

4

5

balanced participation within group

1

2

3

4

5

good volume and clarity

1

2

3

4

5

visual presentation effective (text and figures)

1

2

3

4

5

smooth flow, well-practiced

1

2

3

4

5

 


ENVS& 100  Group Presentation

 

Checklist for your project – fill this in and show your instructor before proceeding!

 

Topic Name_________________________________________   q Pro  q Con

 

 

Presentation Day and Date ___________________________________________

 

Group Members

 

Name

Phone

Email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Meeting

 

Date

Time

Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write in due date

Preliminary reference list and copies of each article first page

 

Annotated bibliography

 

 

Executive summary

 

 

Presentation

 

 

Exam questions