Application Project Plan (APP) Planning Sheet


Grace Bacon and Robin White

Tentative Title

The Hydrofracking Debate

Target Audience

5th and 6th grades

Brief Description

Students will analyze diverse media from all sides of the hydrofracking issue, including videos, websites, advertisements, flyers, etc. to learn the scientific basics of hydrofracking. Students will research and analyze the issue from different perspectives, advocate one of these positions, and make their own informed decision about the issue.

Curriculum Goals

Balance what students know about water, ecology, NYC reservoir system, local history, economics, and energy/science in order to realize that we all have to make choices and compromises in life.

Students will be able to:
1. Describe the basic science behind hydrofracking.
2. Conduct research about hydrofracking - learning to decode information and checking resources for credibility and accuracy.
3. Analyze and evaluate information and media on hydrofracking, understanding point of view and recognizing bias.
4. Take a stakeholder position and articulate their point of view and argue points effectively
5. Make an evaluative judgement regarding the hydrofracking issue

Standard 7: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving
Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.

Media Literacy Goals

Understand that media message are constructed for a specific purpose (NAMLE 1.1a)
Media messages are produced for particular purposes (NAMLE 1.1c)
All media messages contain embedded values and points of view (NAMLE 1.1d)
Media and media messages can influence beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and the democratic process. (NAMLE 1.1e)
Develop critical thinking skills & questioning skills when analyzing media messages. (NAMLE 1.2 & 1.3)
Ask questions about the media messages they see

Other Goals

Students will:
Develop an understanding of why certain people choose one side of an issue or the other, and be able to formulate an opinion of their own. Where will you do this?(In the CCCD module - RW)
Be exposed to vocabulary associated with hydrofracking: carbon footprint, environmental impact, fossil fuel, fracking, green energy, greenhouse gases, hydraulic fracturing, Marcellus Shale, natural gas, natural resources, non-point pollutant, non-renewable resource, point source pollutant, runoff, stakeholder, stewardship, waste products, wastewater, Watershed.

Great goals! Very thorough and articulate.

Proposed Activities

I. Background information on hydrofracking - What is energy, and why do we need it?
A. Review and summarize all types of energy that we use today. This was done as a class discussion with notes from the board.
B. Internet Scavenger Hunt ( Students worked in pairs, using classroom laptops and a copy of the pages of the hunt for recording their answers.
C. Energy Efficiency worksheet and home survey (Kids Korner Interative and online). Reviewed in class, then sent home for homework.
D. Class demo on "energy board" to show how different forms of electricity are produced (solar, chemical, kinetic, electromagnet, static). Done by teacher, then left out for students to explore on their own during the remainder of the period.
E. Movies on types of energy (Bill Nye: Potential/Kinetic Energy)

II. Media Literacy Lesson (library)
A. In library class, with the librarian, kids' commercials were viewed and analyzed. This helped to develop the students' decoding abilities.

III. What choices do we have?
A. Science Textbook: Chapter 7 (Air, Water, and Energy), Lesson 8 (Energy Resources), p. C98-C107. Class lecture and discussion, notes, quiz.
B. Online games at Students enjoyed these.
C. Catskill Center for Conservation and Development lesson (Natural Gas Drilling in the Catskills).
At the conclusion of the module, students presented the posters they created to the class, explaining why they included certain pictures and words. We used the list of media literacy questions at this time (see resources below). This module took a week to complete, and was difficult for the kids to understand completely. I had to guide them quite a bit when they presented their posters and we discussed the media that they had created. All posters were displayed in the school hallway for the entire school to view, along with a "voting" sheet for other students to fill in on whether they were for or against hydrofracking. My class included their votes as well.

IV. Media Literacy Lesson (classroom)
Students were led through an interactive process of viewing and analyzing various forms of media, including pictures, brochures, videos, commercials, and a music video. A summary of media literacy questions was used as a guide at this time (see resources below), and each question was asked and then answered as a group after viewing EACH piece of media. The favorite was the music video ("My Water's on Fire Tonight"), and students talked about this for several weeks after we viewed it.

V. Follow-up activities
A. Project Learning Tree Activity #44: "Water Wonders" p. 188. (The class enjoyed this very much)
*Water cycle review
*"Go to the Head of the Cloud" game
*Creative writing story
B. Green Connections Program, including required 12 lessons and trip to NYC. (Very time consuming, but well worth it)
C. Bill Nye movies ("The Water Cycle" and "Pollutions Solutions").


Teacher observation
Informal classroom "vote" before/after unit
Presentation of projects to class


Print Resources

Recent articles, editorials, and ads from Catskill Mountain News, our local newspaper, representing different perspectives associated with hydrofracking

Internet Resources

"EPA report connects fracking to water pollution in Wyoming" <>

"Questions emerge on EPAs Wyoming fracking study" <>

"Fracking and Quaking - They're Linked" <>

"The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development" <>

"Catskill Mountiainkeeper" <>

"Gas Drilling in the Catskills?" <>

"ConocoPhillips" <> and <>

"Exxon/Mobil YouTube" <>

"My Water's on Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)" <>

Other Resources

"The Catskills - A Sense of Place", Module VI - Sustainable Catskills, Lesson 1 Activity 4: In Class Debate - Energy Options - Natural Gas Drilling in the Catskills? from the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development <>

McGraw-Hill Science, Grade 5, Copyright 2002.

American Forest Foundation. Project Learning Tree: PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. Copyright 2011.

Media Literacy Questions


Time constraints
Developmental levels of the students