This activity is part of the Extinction Stinks! unit.
- Remind students about the conclusions they drew from the Helping the Sumatran Rhino activity after evaluating two competing grant proposals to help conserve the Sumatran rhino.
- Ask students to list some of the strengths they saw in those proposals. Based on their evaluations, these may include:
- Clear storytelling that draws in the reader
- Justification rooted in research about the issues faced by the species
- Connects to other species besides just the target species
- Considers needs of human populations as well as nonhuman species
- Reduces costs when possible, but is realistic when costs need to be high to save a species in crisis
- Remind students about the importance of telling a good story.
- Use the Elements of Storytelling infographic to guide students to tell a story that draws in the audience and makes them want to learn more.
- Have students organize into their project groups and retrieve their Grant Proposal handout from the Helping the Sumatran Rhino activity.
- Facilitate collaboration among students as they draft each section of their grant proposal.
- Remind them to follow the structure of the Grant Proposal handout and refer to the first four rows of the Proposal and Pitch Rubric to ensure that their proposal meets the criteria for the project.
- Once students have worked on their proposals, have student groups exchange proposals to provide constructive feedback using the project rubric.
- Ask students to consider:
- What strengths can you identify in each other’s work? Where could they improve?
- If you were funding projects, what would persuade you to accept the proposal?
While students are working on their grant proposals, circulate and provide timely feedback if particular portions of the proposal could use more support. Intervene as needed if you notice interpersonal conflict, imbalance in work responsibility, or if a group is not on track to complete their grant proposal as scheduled. You can also use peer feedback as informal assessment of students’ work based on the depth and clarity provided to one another.
Extending the Learning
Have students explore what grants are available in real life for the kind of conservation they are trying to do. Several websites list grant applications and deadlines for those working with wildlife, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. These grant submission websites often provide samples of strong grant proposals that show the level of detail needed to create a successful professional-level grant proposal.
Subjects & Disciplines
- Collaborate to write a grant proposal to support their idea for helping their target species.
- Provide peer feedback on others’ proposals.
- Project-based learning
- Cooperative learning
- Information organization
This activity targets the following skills:
21st Century Student Outcomes
- Learning and Innovation Skills
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
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.W.7.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Next Generation Science Standards
- Crosscutting Concept 2: Cause and Effect
- ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions: There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.
- MS. Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Science and Engineering Practice 7: Engaging in argument from evidence
- Science and Engineering Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector
- Small-group work
Grant proposals are a common way that nonprofit organizations secure funding for important projects that support causes like protecting endangered species. The goal of a grant proposal is to convince a potential funder that your work will be effective and is worth the financial investment. Telling a clear and compelling story is essential to getting funding for the project, as grants are usually highly competitive and hard to obtain.
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.
process of applying to a person, business, or other organization for money or other funding.
Tips & Modifications
Step 3: Instead of having groups exchange with another group, students could do a “gallery walk” of all the proposals to observe strengths and points of growth for grant proposals. Read more about this work-sharing technique at the The Teacher Toolkit website.
Step 3: Peer review can be a valuable process when it is executed well. Learn more about best practices in peer review from one English teacher who iterated his process over time to meet the needs of his students in this Edutopia article.