Are you up for the challenge? Follow the steps below:

TeamAssemble your Team
TopicSelect your Topic and Idea
TeachTeach your Lesson
ProposePropose your Research Plan (High School only)
ConnectConnect with your Community
CommunicateCommunicate what you did and learned:
Creative Presentation
Written Portfolio and Reflections
CelebrateCelebrate your Learning and Impact

Assemble your Team

Teams consist of six students and an educator mentor. Additional business, technical, career, and community mentors can make for valuable additions. Teams may be organized around in-school or out-of-school classes, clubs or programs. Teams may want to agree upon their level of commitment, establish meeting times and locations before developing their project plan.

Select your Topic and Idea

Find a topic of shared interest to both students and mentor. Be specific about your topic. The more specific you are, the more powerful your potential impact will be. What is the problem or issue you aim to resolve? What is your idea for doing so? Your impact will be the result of your lesson, service-learning, research, and creative presentation.

Need some help selecting your topic?

Here are some ideas for each of the eligible environmental science categories. You need only select one from any of the following categories:

  • Energy transfer
    • Energy transfer through wind
    • Energy transfer through ocean currents
    • Energy transfer through water cycle
  • Energy conservation and energy efficiency
    • What is the difference between conservation and energy efficiency, and how can these be practiced by our families at home, or by commercial businesses, or industrial users like your school?
    • Water conservation – how can we conserve water and why is this important?
    • Land conservation – how can we conserve land and why is this important?
    • Recycling – why is recycling important, and what can we recycle and how?
    • Waste management – why is this important and what are the ways waste is managed now and your ideas to improve on this?
  • Environmental protection and sustainability
    • Habitat or endangered species protection – which habitats or species need protection, why, and how can we provide this protection?
    • Watershed management – what is it, how are watersheds being managed, why is this important and how can it be improved?
    • Global warming – what is this, why is it important, and what can be done about it?
  • Energy and Renewable energy resources
    • Hydroelectric – what is it, why is it important and is this renewable energy?
    • Natural gas – how is energy generated using natural gas, what else is it used for, why is it important?
    • Solar – how is solar energy generated, why is this important, what do scientists say about the future of solar energy?
    • Wind – how is wind energy generated, why is this important, how is it being used currently and what are future plans and uses for wind energy?
    • Nuclear – how is nuclear energy generated, why is this important, how is it being used currently, what are its pros and cons, and what do scientists say about its future?
  • Air and water quality
    • Compliance and stewardship – what can we do to help improve the quality of our air or water, what are the laws and regulations for air or water quality, and why are these important?
    • Traffic congestion management – how does traffic affect the quality of our air and water, how serious is traffic congestion in our city and how can we better manage it?
  • Alternative transportation
    • Electric transportation - how does this technology work, what are the pros and cons, how do they compare with other alternative transportation solutions, and how else can this technology be applied?
    • Biodiesel transportation - what is biodiesel, what are the pros and cons, how is it used today, what is the future of biodiesel transportation, and how else can this technology be applied?
    • Alternative fuels - what are they, why do we need them, how are they being used today, what are their pros and cons, what do scientists say about their future?


New Science Lesson Plan:Work as a team (students plus educator) to create, teach and add at least one new lesson plan into the science curriculum at your school (or for a lower grade classroom at another school). This lesson plan should use energy and the environment to illustrate or inspire students in some area of science, and should be related to your community service project. The idea for the lesson plan can come from existing curricula, other educational sources or, perhaps the best, be invented by your team. In your portfolio, include a description of the lesson plan and any new parts that you have created. You should describe how your lesson plan fits into your class science curriculum, and how it meets state science content standards. You should also describe how you taught the lesson in a classroom, how students responded to the lesson plan, and how it could be further improved.

Research Proposal: (For High School Only)

Write a proposal for an energy-related research project. The project can be on any environmental science question or topic that interests you. The proposal should describe the issue or question that you are addressing, what you hope to learn, and how you would go about completing it, including the methods and equipment that you would use. Proposals should be 3-5 pages in length. (Note: You don't actually have to DO the project, just propose it!).

Community Connection (optional)

Community Service-Learning: The students on your team should consider leading a larger group of your peers in a public service-learning activity involving energy and the environment. Consider linking the service-learning activity to some of the educational activities in your science classes at the school. Submit a description of your community service-learning project (optional) in your portfolio.


Creative Presentation: Your team should create a visually-interesting presentation that documents one component of your project. The presentation can include any level of digital media (including photos, videos, DVDs, CDs or websites) and/or physical mock-ups. Any multimedia materials should not exceed 3 - 5 minutes. Posters and other physical models should not exceed 30 x 48 inches. Creative presentations will be judged at the school level and the best two projects will be shown at the awards ceremony.

Portfolio: The project should be accompanied by a binder documenting the details of your community service and lesson plan activities.


All participants who successfully submit their project to CSU Channel Islands will be invited to the Campus for a recognition celebration.

Please note: Evaluation of final projects will be based soley upon required components only. Any other submitted materials will not be considered.