Developing a Research Plan

Develop a research plan to investigate the relationship between carbon & climate in your local environment.
Ages 8-14 / 60
min Activity
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  • Develop a research plan to investigate a research question in your local community using GLOBE protocols related to the Year of Climate and Carbon (YCC) Campaign
  • Examine the interconnections between Earth’s systems and climate feedback and how GLOBE protocols can contribute to our understanding of local environmental issues
  • Exchange your class’s research plan and a tour of your study site/observation area with your GLOBE partner class to help them learn about your local environment and GLOBE research question(s)

Supporting Research

The instructional framework presented in this lesson incorporates pedagogical practices of Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) to support students in constructing scientific knowledge and engaging in scientific inquiry. This lesson leverages the third practice in the AST framework, “supporting ongoing changes in students’ thinking”, by helping students refine their research questions as they develop a research plan using GLOBE protocols related to climate and carbon. During this virtual exchange, students will strengthen their self-awareness as they make connections between their lived experiences and the science concepts presented, perspective taking as they listen to and learn from their peers, and collaboration as they work together to develop a research plan and share their study site/observation area with their partner class.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out Empatico’s Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners

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Prepare: Plan for the virtual exchange

  1. Introduce the activity to your students.

    You might explain: “We are going to build on the ideas we shared with our partner class by exploring which GLOBE protocols we might use to investigate our research question related to climate and carbon. Our goal is to develop a research plan to investigate a question related to climate and carbon in our local community. We will share our research plan and a tour of our study site/observation area with our partner class so they can learn more about our local environment and research question(s). After we refine our research question(s) and research plan, we will present it to our collaborating GLOBE International STEM Network (GISN) Scientist during a live virtual exchange for additional feedback.”
  2. As a class, develop a research plan and share your class’s proposed study site with your partner class, including a narrated tour with photos and/or videos.

    Depending on the nature of your class’ research question, you may choose to use the Site Selection protocol to define a study site in your local environment.

    Consider using the Developing a Research Plan template, which includes the following categories:
    • Statement of research question
    • GLOBE protocol(s) that would help investigate the research question
    • GLOBE campaigns related to the research question (if applicable)
    • Description of measurements and/or observations that will be collected
    • Tour of study site: photos and/or videos can be uploaded directly into the GLOBE Community Padlet. The maximum file size for photo/video content is 500MB (click here for tips on uploading photos and videos).
  3. Students should collaborate on developing the research plan and narrated tour as a class, with small groups working on different components.

    This activity can be adapted for different grade levels. For example:
    • Older students might input their ideas into the Developing a Research Plan template in Google Documents or using ArcGIS Story Maps, a free digital storytelling platform that incorporates GIS-based maps. ArcGIS StoryMaps offers a powerful way to communicate scientific information and could provide an interactive format for classes to showcase and share their research plans.
    • Younger students might engage in a teacher-led brainstorming activity using a K-W-L graphic organizer and associated research question templates, adding their own ideas as pictures or images.

    Students should have some familiarity with GLOBE protocols related to climate and carbon. Depending on the age of your students and amount of instructional time available, you might consider engaging students in a jigsaw activity to learn more about different GLOBE protocols or to deepen their understanding of the protocol you have selected for the class.

    For more information on related GLOBE protocols, visit the Carbon Cycle page or Green-up/Green-down page. See the “Resources” section of the Carbon Cycle page for teacher guides related to posing research questions (including example research questions), developing research plans, and more.

    Visit the Year of Climate and Carbon Campaign (YCC) page for more information on climate-related GLOBE initiatives related to the YCC campaign, including the North America Phenology Campaign and the Trees Around the LAC Campaign. We encourage educators to submit a YCC Campaign participation form linked to the bottom of the page.

Interact: Share your research plan and study site

  1. Share your research plan and tour of your study site/observation area with your partner class on the GLOBE Community Padlet.

    Click on "+" in the bottom right corner of the Padlet and search for your location to add a post to the map. Use the file upload or link sharing feature of Padlet to share your research plan with the GLOBE Community, and be sure to include a descriptive title on your post.

Reflect: gather students to discuss their experience

  1. After exchanging your digital packages, review your partner class’s research plan and study site tour with your students and encourage them to share their observations. Gather students in a reflection circle to discuss the questions below. This is an opportunity to help them share their developing ideas and extend their learning.
    • How does our partner class’s study site compare to our study site? How is it similar? How is it different?
    • What do you notice? What do you wonder?
    • What advice or tips do you have for our partner class? What suggestions do you have that might make our partner class’s research question better?
    • What new information have we learned that might inform our research plan?
    • What questions do you have for our partner class or collaborating scientist that might help us further develop our research plan?
    • What changes would you make to your initial sketch based on what you have learned so far?
  2. After your reflection, encourage students to post comments and questions on the GLOBE Community Padlet to provide feedback and build community with your partner class.

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.