The Seagull Squabble - An NGSS-Aligned PBL Concept

Some of the best Project Based Learning experiences are anchored in authentic issues and problems. Students tackle them with original research and a problem solving approach.

We love this project concept that was cleverly titled: The Seagull Squabble that tackled an authentic issue and current event in the teacher's town. It's aligned to NGSS and also incorporates CCSS ELA. It could easily be expanded to include even more learning outcomes and standards if a teacher wanted to expand the scope.

Title: Seagull Squabble

Grade: 4th Grade

Type of Project: Controversial Issue


Students are challenged to propose a solution to the recent controversy in Elmira, New York: downtown business owners are putting pressure on the city council to limit the seagull population that nests on the islands in the Chemung River.

Driving Question:

How should we solve the seagull squabble?

Learning Outcomes:

3rd Grade Next Generation Science Standards: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, & Dynamics 3-LS2-1: Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

3-LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves and cope with changes. Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size.

CCSS Writing 3.1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

Tangible Outcomes:

Team: Proposal to the city council (must have a presentational and a written component)

Individual: Position paper

Adult World Connections:

City council & local business owners involved on both sides of the issue.

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