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Welcome to the middle school challenge page for Challenge 6 of the Fairchild Challenge! Read below to find challenge information, entry requirements, resources and more for the challenge.

Challenge 6

Title: Choose Your Own Eco-Action Adventure!

Due Date: Fri., May 6, 2022 by 5 p.m.

Download Challenge 6 Rubric

Have you ever wanted to lead a project to help nature around you, but you’re not sure where to start? People around the globe are making efforts to help the environment in many ways, from smaller projects like picking up litter to bigger project like planting monarch waystations through the country!

The most successful projects start with a plan of action to help groups organize their needs, tasks and goals. Your challenge is to create a plan of action for an environmental action project to help your school or community. Pick a project that you are really passionate about! Remember that environmental issues and solutions can connect to almost anything you enjoy! In the past we’ve seen plans for monitoring the electricity you use, stray cat adoption events, basketball game fundraisers for environmental causes, pollinator and rain gardens, recycling events for hard-to-recycle items, making art from collected litter, and even more creative plans! The more excited you are to do this project, the more likely it will be to succeed!

For your plan of action, you will submit a step-by-step guide for planning your environmental project. This guide should include: your project idea, goals you aim to achieve, a checklist of all the resources you’ll need, a timeline for completing tasks, relevant sketches or photos, and information about how you will engage other people. If this is a project you have done before, you should also describe the previous project and the specific ways you will expand upon it for this challenge. Remember that researching and problem-solving should be done by the students. Students are encouraged to work with adults in decision-making positions, but the students should create the final project or product. We would love to hear about your results, especially if you have completed your projects by the time of submission!

Entry Requirements: Deliver to the science education coordinator at Phipps in person or via certified mail or electronic submission via email to

  • Challenge Entry Form, include the school name and the participating students’ names
  • Step-by-step guide for planning your environmental project including: your project idea, goals you aim to achieve, a checklist of all of the resources you’ll need, a timeline for completing tasks, relevant sketches or photos, and information about how you will engage other people

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Fairchild Challenge c/o Jennifer Torrance
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


  • Grades Six – Eight

    • 3.4.6.A2 Describe how systems thinking involves considering how every part relates to others.
    • 3.4.8.A3 Compare how a product, system, or environment developed for one setting may be applied to another setting.
    • 3.4.7.B3 Describe how invention and innovation lead to changes in society and the creation of new needs and wants.
    • 3.4.7.C1 Describe how design, as a creative planning process, leads to useful products and systems.
    • 3.4.8.C2 Explore the design process as a collaborative endeavor in which each person in the group presents his or her ideas in an open forum.
    • 3.4.8.C3 Analyze how a multi-disciplinary (STEM) approach to problem solving will yield greater results.
    • 3.4.6.D2 Use computers appropriately to access and organize and apply information.
    • 3.4.7.D1 Identify and collect information about everyday problems that can be solved by technology and generate ideas and requirements for solving a problem.
    • 3.4.7.D2 Select and safely use appropriate tools, products and systems for specific tasks.
    • 3.4.7.E3 Examine the efficiency of energy use in our environment
    • 4.2.6.D
      • Use appropriate tools and technologies to gather, analyze, and interpret data and understand that it enhances accuracy and allows scientists to analyze and quantify results of investigations.
      • 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.
      • Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
      • 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.
    • 11.2.6.C Classify the components of effective teamwork and leadership.
    • 11.2.6.D Identify the concepts and principles used in planning space for activities.

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