Research Presentation Topics - Final Project – Part I
1. PowerPoint based on Research paper to be a 20 to 30-slide (10-minute) presentation.
2. Include a bibliography. (at the end of your power point )
a. No quotes are allowed.
b. Do not cite Wikipedia.
c. Use original citations.
d. Hyperlinks will be appropriate for pictures.
a. Plagiarism will result in a zero.
3. Turn in PowerPoint on June7th ON A CD or USB/Thumb drive
4. Late projects = ZERO points
5. You cannot research a topic you have already done this year.
A. Make AP Env Sci A better class
a. Design a program that can be presented to all the teachers including technophobes that will encourage them
to go paperless.
b. Find guest speakers for APES for each unit.
B. Educate the Montville Community re: Environmental Issues
a. Design a campaign to increase awareness of single stream recycling
b. Create an Environmental Awareness Day at MHS– Include speakers from appropriate Connecticut
businesses, Organizations and Govt. Agencies.
c. Design a series of Alternative Energy Seminars at MHS.
d. The first Earth Day was in the 70's — why did it happen? Is the thought still alive, or was it a passing fad?
What has changed since then?
C. Atmosphere/Air/Air Pollution
a. Global Climate Change: Myth, Fact or Future?
b. Ozone Depletion: Causes, Changes, Future.
c. The health effects of indoor air pollution. How does good insulation expose us to toxic chemicals?
d. The asbestos problem — why is it harmful? Is it worth the staggering expense to clean it up?
e. Acid rain—its effect on lakes and streams, forests, agriculture, and on human health.
f. Carcinogens in the environment — how we test for them, and is it worth the time to worry about them?
g. Discuss the problem of radon gas in our homes. Why is it so prevalent across the country? Is it as serious as
we are told? What health hazards does it pose to us?
h. Create an engaging set of assignments including labs/activities about Air Pollution.
a. Renewable Energy: is it a realistic feasible alternative?
b. Dominion Power Plant's history and its future?
c. What is the best way to handle the many nuclear wastes we have created?
d. Shippinsport — the first nuclear reactor to 'die' of old age — what have we done with it?
e. Electricity: It brought society out of the dark. History and environmental impact, future alternatives – what is
the best way to go?
f. Transportation it makes life easy but at what ecological costs?
g. Barack Obama is changing the set-up of the department that was in charge of oil mining. What are the
changes? Will this work? What types of controls should be in place to prevent further disasters such as the
one in the gulf stream today.
h. The ecological effects of nuclear war—the nuclear winter/nuclear autumn hypotheses.
i. Is the U. S. an energy pig? Or, do our contributions to the world in terms of technology and inventions
justify taking more than our share of world resources?
j. Cogeneration — cities that bum their garbage for heat and electricity. (Examples include Harrisburg,
Columbus (OH), and Akron (OH).
k. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl — what happened, and how have these events affected the U. S. nuclear
industry? What about the many other underreported nuclear accidents? How does Dominion stack up against
these nuclear power plants?
l. Petroleum is likely to run out in your lifetime. What would life be like without petroleum and its products?
m. Trace the refining of oil from the ground to your gas tank.
n. The sun is free — so why isn't solar energy cheap, too?
o. A debate: your town needs a new power plant. Should it be a fossil fuel-burning plant, or a nuclear plant? Is
there any other feasible alternative?
p. What has happened to the anthracite coal industry in Pennsylvania?
q. Supertankers and oil spills — their ecological aftermath. How well did Alaska survive the Exxon Valdez
a. Salt Marsh Restoration Projects: Value, Costs, Status and Future needs?
b. Connecticut Fisheries Regulations Laws and the ecological reasoning behind them
c. Bleaching of Coral Reefs: Mechanisms and the future?
d. Municipal Water Treatment Facility for Montville. How do cities and town handle water treatment? How
does it work? What are some progressive approaches to an age-old problem?
e. Was Lake Erie ever dead? Why and how conditions deteriorated during the last century, leading to the day
the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland. Have things improved since then?
f. In the western US, the major environmental problem is water. Discuss this problem that sets farmers,
ranchers, developers, and environmentalists at odds. Do you think the SCGOG is ahead of the game when
dealing with local Southeastern Connecticut Upcoming water problems? Is there more they should do? How
can you make local people aware of this upcoming issue?
g. Extracting minerals from seawater.
h. Factoryville — a town that has begun to treat its sewage—why hasn't it had to until recently? Why do some
small towns still dump raw sewage into streams? Do a comparison of water conditions upstream and
Downstream of the city.
i. What happens when someone at East flushes the toilet? What does East do with its sewage?
j. Acid rain -- Connecticut as both a source and recipient.
k. Create an engaging set of assignments including labs/activities about Water Pollution.
a. Alien invaders: problem plants and animals in Connecticut’s Habitats: Who are they, where did they come
from, why are they here, and what are some environmental / ecological solutions.
b. Endangered Species Act. How do you get on the list? Is the list universal? How is it enforced? How
successful is it? Is it fair to all?
c. Lobster die-off in Long Island sound. What is the problem? How wide spread is it? What are the ecological
implications? Economic implications?
d. The problem of exotic and introduced plants and animals in Florida —America's great outdoor zoo.
e. A conflict of interest — fishermen vs. oil drilling on America's most fertile fishing grounds.
f. What happens when an endangered species meets a multi-million dollar dam? The story of the snail darter
vs. the Tellico Dam.
g. Smoky the Bear should be snuffed out — or, why forest fires aren't such bad things.
h. We currently have more forested land than probably existed when whites came to America. However, it is of
much lower quality than before. Additionally, it is becoming very fragmented, a condition that poses perhaps
more of a threat to bird species than does the burning of the tropical rain forests. Discuss these notions.
i. Zebra mussels, a clam-like invader from Europe, have infiltrated the Great Lakes and the Susquehanna
River. They are expected to cause a monumental ecological problem. Discuss these invaders.
j. Create an engaging set of assignments including labs/activities about Biodiversity Hotspots
a. Recycling? Does it really help? How so? What still needs to be done? How does the USA compare
b. Discuss a local Superfund site. What are the laws that regulate the Superfund? How is the Superfund run?
What is the Environmental impact?
c. Should the United States adopt a "bottle bill"? Should the federal government? The Sierra Club thinks so.
Why have such attempts failed in the past?
d. Evaluate the Montville Highs plans for a recycling program for paper, aluminum, plastic and glass. What are
its strong and weak points? How could it be made more efficient?
e. Scrap yards -- what they can recycle, and what they can't. What do they pay for recycled materials; why does
the market fluctuate so much; how much do they make in this business?
f. There is a lot of land out there, so why are we running out of landfills? What makes it so hard to site them?
How safe are our landfills?
g. Investigate "green consumerism", or how consumers can have an effect on product manufacturers by their
buying habits. Is there enough of a preference for ecologically 'friendly' products (for example, eggs packed
in recyclable cardboard cartons rather than Styrofoam)?
h. Design a marketable product (something people would buy) from discarded materials - either from your own
trash or from what is generated at school. (Still need power point to explain)
i. It has been proposed that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be opened up to oil drilling. Is
this a good idea?
H. Policies/Laws/Organizations that Deal with the Environment
a. Land preservation acts, green space, open space – their value and costs, what are some successful plans that
have already been implemented?
b. Compare and contrast Bill Clinton's and George W. Bush's environmental record (or record on energy
policies). How does he stack up compared to past presidents? How does Barack Obama compare to date?
c. Compare the major environmental organizations (National Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Izaak Walton
League, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, The Nature Conservancy, The National Wildlife Federation,
Earth First!, etc. ) What are their goals? How do they differ? What do they do to try to accomplish their
goals? Are they successful?
d. How can we ask Brazil to not cut the Amazon when we are cutting our own old growth forests in the Pacific,
also threatening species with extinction?
e. Some parts of Antarctica are badly polluted. How? Why? Who owns Antarctica? What effect does tourism
f. Using maps, figure out how much land in Montville is undeveloped. Do we have zoning laws against
development? Now use maps to check the amount of open areas in New London County.
g. City planning—how can you build an environmentally sound, beautiful, energy efficient, recycling society?
h. Create an engaging set of assignments including labs/activities about Urban planning.
i. Create an engaging set of assignments including activities about Environmental Laws
I. Food/Pest control
a. Organic vs. traditional farming methods. Which is more productive? More environmentally benign? Discuss
topics like pesticides, no till farming, etc.
b. DDT — is it a serious environmental threat, or just another phony crisis?
c. Conserving germplasm — why are some scientists saving ancient strains of wheat and other grain crops?
Could we be doing the same for endangered species?
d. Investigate 'The Hamburg Connection'. Is a Big Mac worth cutting down the rain forests and destroying the
e. Chemical pesticides—an agricultural blessing or an ecological disaster? Why don't we make greater use of
biological pesticides, like insect pheromones?
f. The ten food plants that stand between world starvation and us.
J. Populations – Human & Animals
a. China is the most populous nation on earth. Discuss the variety of pressures that have been used to cut the
birth rate there. Which of these could you see working in the U.S.?
b. Zero Population Growth in the U. S. Can we reach it? Should we? Some people think that we need to have
another baby boom to support Social Security in the future.
c. The problem of too many immigrants and refugees in the U. S. -do we let them in or slam the door?
d. Do animals and plants have population explosions? How does Mother Nature handle overpopulation
problems? How will she handle the human population explosion?
e. There is another drought and famine imminent in Ethiopia. Why haven't conditions improved since the last
one just a few short years ago?
f. What will life be like when there are 16 billion people? Discuss a futuristic view of life styles and personal
freedom compared to today's world.
g. Should we try to save endangered species—is it really worth it? Should we save endangered snails, crickets,
rattlesnakes, and mosquitoes?
a. Are you a travel & tourism enthusiast? Write on ecotourism—nature tours, African 'safaris', swimming with
dolphins, etc. Are these things beneficial to host countries and to the animals?
b. Endangered species in Connecticut — what are they? How big of a problem would you say it is? what is
being done to save them?
c. Design (that is, draw a very specific blueprint) an energy efficient home.
d. Create a picture book that explains an ecology concept. Your book should be appropriate for the elementary
school level and should tell a story to help children understand these concepts.
e. The debt crisis and the Third World — how does the interest burden from huge loans prevent developing
countries from pursuing an ecologically smart strategy? What role does the World Bank play in international
conservation (or the lack of it)? Are we in a debt crisis here in the US? What should we do?
f. More for an art enthusiast. Compare the wildlife artwork of such prominent wildlife artists as John James
Audubon, Robert Bateman, Roger Tory Peterson, Louis A. Fuertes, and others.
g. Compare some of the more prominent nature writers like Emerson, Thoreau, John Borroughs, Aldo Leopold,
Edwin Way Teale, Edward Abbey, etc. Or read several writings by the same author and discuss his/her
philosophy of the natural world.
h. There is quite a controversy between animal rights advocates and the fur industry. Present a discussion about
this problem giving both sides of the question, finishing up with your own opinion. (Conduct interviews with
trappers, women who own furs, and animal lovers.)
i. There are many fine nature-oriented shows on TV (mostly PBS). Discuss Nature, Nova, Wild America,
National Geographic, World of Survival, Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, etc. What are their goals?
How do they effect the viewing public's perception of the natural world?
j. Discuss the growing field of environmental music. Who are the artists? What have been their contributions?
Play some samples to the class.
k. Numerous recent reports have claimed that the US is trailing far behind other nations in science education.
Discuss these reports. Have you been turned off by science? What are your experiences? Why does it seem
to be fashionable to say, "Oh, I just can't do math/biology/chemistry/ physics/etc.? What needs to be done to
the educational system to get students excited about science again?
l. Minorities suffer more environmental insults than any other group. Why? Some topics to include are plans to
site radioactive waste dumps on Native American reservations; the presence of an inordinately high number
of chemical plants and landfills in poor neighborhoods.
m. Must business & environment always be at odds? Can environmentalism be good business?
n. Design an environmentally friendly building for the MHS Science Department.
o. Create a 3 dimensional green home or building model.