Young Explorers Essay Competition

Through the Young Explorers Essay competition, middle-school students research and write an essay related to a particular global topic using Common Core standards. Participants and winners of the competition are recognized in a district-wide ceremony as part of our partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

youngexplorers

 

2016 Young Explorers
Global Essay Middle School Writing Contest

Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1855

The CMS Humanities Department and the World Affairs Council of Charlotte announce the 2016 Young Explorers Global Essay Middle School Writing Contest.

The World Affairs Council of Charlotte (WACC) was founded in 1983 as an outreach program of UNC Charlotte and its Office of International Programs. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, the council seeks to provide leadership for global thinking, believing that a broad perspective is necessary for effective competition in the global economy and for responsible citizenship in an increasingly interdependent world.

The contest is open to all CMS middle school (grades 6-8) students. This year’s contest begins February 1, 2016 and runs through March 24, 2016. Each school should conduct its own contest and submit two school level winners for district level consideration. Individual middle schools may select two writing entries (grades 6-8) for a total of two per middle school. There will be first place, second place, and third place district winners awarded.

1st Place Winner: Kindle Voyage
2nd Place Winner: Kindle Paperwhite
3rd Place Winner: Basic Kindle

Goal

The goal of the essay is for students to investigate and research a global concern, identify key factors associated with the issue, communicate ideas, and propose potential solutions and next steps to address the problem.

Background

Wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitats. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be around for future generations to enjoy and also to recognize the importance of wildlife and wilderness for humans and other species alike. Some nations have government and other agencies dedicated to wildlife conservation, which help to implement policies designed to protect wildlife. Conversely, some developing nations may not have resources dedicated to the protection of wildlife. Numerous international organizations also promote various wildlife conservation causes.

Wildlife conservation has become an increasingly important practice due to the negative effects of human activity on wildlife. The science of extinction is called dirology. An endangered species is defined as a population of a living species that is in danger of becoming extinct because of several reasons.

Task

Globally, both humans and nature are affecting animal populations and causing some animals to be considered endangered species. Choose an endangered animal from a country, continent, or region outside the USA and discuss the reasons its population is in decline. What factors have influenced the status of this animal? Then, propose possible solutions to help preserve the animal species. What specifically can be done to preserve this animal’s population and why should people take action?

Write an essay identifying key factors associated with the endangerment of a selected animal species. Analyze human/environmental interactions and propose specific feasible solutions and next steps to preserve the species. Your essay must be written during this current school year and may not exceed 750 words. Please use 12 point Times New Roman font and one inch margins.

Standards

NC Essential Standards for Social Studies Connections: 

6.G.2.1 Use maps, charts, graphs, geographic data and available technology tools to draw conclusions about the emergence, expansion and decline of civilizations, societies and regions.

7.G.1.1 Explain how environmental conditions and human response to those conditions influence modern societies and regions (e.g. natural barriers, scarcity of resources and factors that influence settlement).

7.G.2.2 Use maps, charts, graphs, geographic data and available technology tools (i.e. GPS and GIS software) to interpret and draw conclusions about social, economic, and environmental issues in modern societies and regions.

NC Essential Standards for Science Connections:

6.L.2.3 Summarize how the abiotic factors (such as temperature, water, sunlight, and soil quality) of biomes (freshwater, marine, forest, grasslands, desert, Tundra) affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive and/or create their own food through photosynthesis.

7.L.2.3 Explain the impact of the environment and lifestyle choices on biological inheritance (to include common genetic diseases) and survival

8.L.4.2: Explain the relationship between genetic variation and an organism’s ability to adapt to its environment.

8.L.3.1 Explain how factors such as food, water, shelter, and space affect populations in an ecosystem.

8.L.3.2 Summarize the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers including the positive and negative consequences of such interactions including: coexistence and cooperation, competition (predator/prey), parasitism and mutualism 

Common Core State Standards Connections for Writing:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION & DEADLINES

  • Contest runs February 1 to March 24, 2016.
  • Schools hold individual judging the week of March 14-18, 2016 to determine two school level winners.
  • Contest entry submission guidelines
    • Please send or deliver winning entries to:
      Jami Rodgers
      Humanities Dept.
      Walton Plaza #839
    • Please be sure all entries are sent with the appropriate entry label.
      Label both writing entries as follows:
      Student’s first and last name – Student’s grade – Student’s school – Teacher’s first and last name
      Example:
      Annette Conroy – 7th Grade – Mint Hill Middle – Ms. Donna Banks
    • Deadline for entries to be received by the Humanities Department is March 24, 2016.

SCHOOL JUDGING

  • Judging of written entries should be based on student’s adherence to the prompt/theme.
  • Entries may not exceed 750 words.
  • Schools should use the district-provided rubric to score all writing entries.
  • It is recommended each school appoint a panel of judges to select two winning entries for the school to submit for district competition.

DISTRICT JUDGING & AWARDS

  • All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Judges will select first place, second place, and third place winners.
  • The district’s panel of judges will use the district-provided rubric to score all entries. The panel will consist of representatives from the World Affairs Council of Charlotte’s Education Committee and CMS Curriculum Specialists.
  • CMS and the World Affairs Council of Charlotte will announce district level winners the first week of May, 2016.

Resources

These resources are provided to assist with research. It is the responsibility of the student to evaluate for bias and determine personal conclusions!

LDC LESSON:   http://www.pdesas.org/module/content/resources/20757/view.ashx

The Economics of Saving Endangered Species: A Teaching Activity
http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/se/6106/610606.html

National Geographic Animal Conservation Page
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/conservation/

Animal Conservation Databases
http://www.iucn.org/resources/conservation-tools/

Endangered Species Act: Overview (contains an 8 minute video teachers can use to introduce the subject-from a national concern to a global concern)
http://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/

Endangered Species International Org (list of endangered species internationally, projects, take action section, videos, podcasts, photos, trivia, letter from the President)
http://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/

World Wide Life – Cites Org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/cites

NOVA – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/hotscience/int_natu.html

PBS Learning Media – http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/

Conservation – http://www.conservation.org/Pages/default.aspx

The Nature Conservancy – http://www.nature.org/

World Wildlife Fund – http://www.worldwildlife.org/initiatives/wildlife-conservation

Biotechnology & Animal Extinction –
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/01/0116_030116_tvfrozenzoo_2.html

Biotech & Critically Endangered Wildlife article –
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/18/biotechnology-endangered-wildlife-conservation-species

 

We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.”
~Barbara Ward, Only One Earth, 1972