This activity is part of the Extinction Stinks! unit. 

1. Model weak presentation skills and lead a debrief discussion to identify the characteristics of a strong presentation.
  • Ask: Why is presenting your pitch with a broader audience in mind important? Possible responses include:
      • Evoking audience emotions to encourage them to act
      • Providing clear evidence to support the strength of a solution to secure funding
  • Remind students of the presentation aspect of their proposal: Groups will be giving a two to three minute pitch of their proposed solution to help their target species, using the content they outlined in their grant proposals.     
  • Model weak presentation skills by giving a pitch that is low energy, has no story line, and does not provide adequate detail to be complete. 
  • After the weak presentation, ask students for ideas about what would have made the presentation more engaging or complete. Document their ideas in a visible place. Some aspects to highlight include:
      • Making eye contact
      • Speaking with a strong voice
      • Starting with a story that draws in the audience
      • Having summarized notes, such as note cards, to avoid reading from a script
      • Using images or words (when possible) to help guide the audience
  • In addition to student-generated guidelines for a complete presentation, ensure that students understand your expectations for the following criteria:
      • Time limit (between two to three minutes)
      • Divide speaking time equally among group members
      • Including visual cues, if any (e.g., slide deck, pictures, poster)
2. Direct students to collaborate in their project groups to prepare and practice their proposal pitch.
  • Provide students with time to prepare a pitch for their grant proposal as a group. 
      • Ensure students use their group’s Grant Proposal handout (provided during the Helping the Sumatran Rhino activity), so that all parts of the proposed solution are included in their pitch.
      • Students should divide speaking time equally and practice their presentation several times during class, if possible. 
      • Let students know if you are inviting an outside audience on the final presentation day, and encourage them to be well prepared.
  • Circulate and provide support in creating an energetic and informational pitch to present the information in their grant proposals. 
      • Remind students that to secure funding they will need to include all essential information from the Proposal and Pitch Rubric.
  • If some groups finish early, they can use each other as an audience to present to and provide one another with feedback.

Informal Assessment

Listen to student groups as they practice, making sure to visit each group during the class period.  If there is sufficient time, you could also have students do a run-through of their presentation, allowing you to offer positive and constructive feedback.

Extending the Learning

Have students watch TED Talks related to wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species. Several strong examples include Richard Turere, Moreangels Mbizah, and John Kasaona.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • Biology
  • Conservation
  • Storytelling

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • List characteristics of strong and weak presentations.
  • Plan a presentation based on their grant proposal detailing their solution for supporting their target species.

Teaching Approach

  • Project-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Cooperative learning
  • Role playing
  • Writing

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

  • 21st Century Themes
  • Critical Thinking Skills
    • Analyzing
    • Applying
    • Creating
    • Evaluating
    • Remembering
    • Understanding
  • Science and Engineering Practices
    • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
    • Engaging in argument from evidence
    • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4:  Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. 
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.5:  Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.6:  Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 7 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.) 
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1:  Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Next Generation Science Standards

What You’ll Need

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, 1 computer per pair

Physical Space

  • Classroom

Background Information

Communicating effectively is an essential skill in successful conservation efforts. Using visuals, telling a clear story, making eye contact, and speaking clearly are just a few of the skills experts practice when preparing to deliver their pitches to funders.



management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.


organism threatened with extinction.


process of complete disappearance of a species from Earth.


money given to a person or group of people to carry out a specific project or program.

grant writing

process of applying to a person, business, or other organization for money or other funding.


present an idea or information in such a way as to gain support from one’s audience, usually in the form of a short speech or presentation, which is referred to by the same word (pitch, noun).

Articles & Profiles