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Welcome to the middle school challenge page for Challenge 3 of the Fairchild Challenge! Read below to find challenge information, entry requirements, resources and more for the challenge.

Challenge 3: Jackpot Media Challenge

Title: "Compelling Climate Conservations"
For individuals or groups

Note: Entries will be considered for the Patti Burns Prize for Excellence in Communication and Media instead of being awarded points toward the 2022 – 2023 Fairchild Challenge 

Due: Fri., Jan. 20, 2022 by 5 p.m.

Download the Challenge 3 Rubric

Your Challenge:

Climate change is an important and urgent topic, but it’s also a topic that can sometimes be met with resistance. Sometimes just saying the phrase “climate change” can create barriers in an otherwise productive conversation. So, we have a challenge for you – Can you activate someone to care about the changing climate without ever saying the phrase “climate change?” Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, world-renowned climate scientist and professor at Texas Tech University, often does this by asking people, “Do you think the weather is getting weirder?” We would like you to write a speech or record yourself giving a speech about the realities of climate change without ever saying “climate change” or “global warming.” This is more than a simple ‘find and replace exercise’: your speech can discuss the myriad of devastating effects climate change is already causing or address the root causes of climate change. Try to target a specific audience for your speech and consider in advance your audience’s social, cultural, political, or personal perspectives on climate change. This speech should be presented more like a conversation than a lecture! Think and reflect on how you might be listening to their concerns, fears, or questions, too. Try to meet your audience where they’re at: think about what values are important to them and where those values intersect your own. Lead with empathy and find common ground! Please check out the important resources below for how to have a productive conversation about climate change (without saying those last two words!)

Written speeches should be 1 to 2 pages in length (size 11 or 12 font, 1.15 or 1.5 spacing). Videos should be between 2 and 4 minutes in length. We suggest uploading your video on YouTube as an unlisted video or uploading it to a Google Drive folder. Share the link with us by copying it and pasting it into a Word Doc. Be sure to include a list of resources you used.

Entry Requirements:
Deliver to the high school programs coordinator at Phipps via email:

  • Challenge Entry Form, include the school name and the participating students’ names.
  • One of the following:
    • A link to a video between 2 and 4 minutes in length
    • A written speech that is 1 to 2 pages in length, size 11 or 12 font, 1.15 or 1.5 spacing
  • Works Cited or Sources list

Resources: We HIGHLY recommend using these resources to prepare for writing your speech! They show clear examples of what we are looking for and provide key information for a successful climate conversation.

Additional longer reading:

  • All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

  • Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe


  • Grade Six – Eight

    • CC.3.5.6-8.A Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
    • CC.3.6.6-8.A Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. • Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources. • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence. • Establish and maintain a formal style. • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
    • CC.3.6.6-8.B Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. • Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. • Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts. • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone. • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented. Note: Students’ narrative skills continue to grow in these grades. The Standards require that students be able to incorporate narrative elements effectively into arguments and informative/explanatory texts. In history/social studies, students must be able to incorporate narrative accounts into their analyses of individuals or events of historical import. In science and technical subjects, students must be able to write precise enough descriptions of the step-by-step procedures they use in their investigations or technical work that others can replicate them and (possibly) reach the same results.
    • CC.3.6.6-8.F Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
    • CC.3.6.6-8.G Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
    • CC.3.6.6-8.H Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.
    • CC.1.2.6.G Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g. visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
    • CC.1.2.6.J Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
    • CC.1.2.6.K Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade-level reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies and tools.
    • CC.1.2.7.G Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject (e.g. how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
    • CC.1.2.8.G Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g. print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
    • 4.1.7.E Identify factors that contribute to change in natural and human-made systems.
    • 4.3.7.B Explain the distribution and management of natural resources. Differentiate between resource uses: conservation, preservation, and exploitation
    • 4.4.7.A Describe how agricultural practices, the environment, and the availability of natural resources are related.
    • 4.5.6.D Identify reasons why organisms become threatened, endangered, and extinct.
    • 4.5.6.F Understand how theories are developed.
      • Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations and evaluate the appropriateness of questions.
      • Develop descriptions, explanations, and models using evidence and understand that these emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments and are based on scientific principles, models, and theories.
      • Analyze alternative explanations and understanding that science advances through legitimate skepticism.
      • Understand that scientific investigations may result in new ideas for study, new methods or procedures for an investigation, or new technologies to improve data collection.
    • 4.5.7.A Describe how the development of civilization affects the use of natural resources.
    •  Compare and contrast how people use natural resources in sustainable and non-sustainable ways throughout the world.
    • 4.5.7.C Explain how human actions affect the health of the environment.
    • Identify residential and industrial sources of pollution and their effects on environmental health.
    • 4.5.7.E Describe how length and degree of exposure to pollutants may affect human health.
    • Identify diseases/ conditions that have been associated with exposure to pollutants
    • 4.5.8.A Explain how Best Management Practices (BMP) can be used to mitigate environmental problems.
    • 4.5.8.D Compare and contrast waste generated from various sources of energy.
    • 4.5.8.F Compare and contrast scientific theories.
    • Know that both direct and indirect observations are used by scientists to study the natural world and universe.
    • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations.
    • Formulate and revise explanations and models using logic and evidence.
    • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models.
    • 6.1.7.B Compare decisions made because of limited resources and unlimited wants. Describe how resources are combined to produce different goods and services.
    • 6.1.7.D Explain how positive and negative incentives affect behavior.
    • 6.1.8.B Compare decisions made because of limited resources and unlimited wants. Analyze the resources that are combined to create goods and services.
    • 6.1.8.C Compare choices to determine the best action.
    • 7.2.6-8.A Describe the characteristics of places and regions.
    • 7.3.6-8.A Describe the human characteristics of places and regions using the following criteria: Population, Culture, Settlement, Economic activities, Political activities


    Other Possible Standards (depending on the direction of the speech):

    • 4.3.8.A Compare and contrast alternative sources of energy.
    • 4.5.6.A Examine how historical events have shaped the sustainable use of natural resources.
    • 5.4.6-7.A Identify how countries have varying interests.
    • 5.4.8.C Explain how common problems (e.g., natural disasters, ethnic conflict, environmental concerns) are addressed by organizations and governments.
    • 5.2.6.D Explain why participation in government and civic life is important.
    • 5.3.6.G Identify individual interest groups and how they impact government.
    • 5.3.6-7.H Describe the influence of mass media on society.
    • 6.1.6.B Compare ways that people meet their needs with how they meet their wants. Describe how resources are combined to produce different goods and services
    • 6.1.6.C Define opportunity cost and describe the opportunity cost of personal choice.

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