Civically-Engaged Equity & Access

Action Research Project To Change The World

Student-led inquiry, research, and activism

Overview and Context

Through this project, students in grades 9-12 will learn to use language arts skills to make a positive impact on the world. They will learn to conduct research, propose solutions, and collaborate with others to achieve a common goal. They will also develop presentation  skills and learn to present their findings to an audience.

Related California Standards

  1. Reading: Students read and understand a wide range of complex texts.
  2. Writing: Students write for different purposes and audiences.
  3. Speaking and Listening: Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience.
  4. Research: Students conduct research to answer questions and solve problems.
  5. Collaboration: Students collaborate with others to accomplish a common goal.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will choose a research question/issue related to one of the units of study covered during the semester.
  2. Students will conduct research to prove that the issue exists and needs to be changed.
  3. Students will propose a plan of action to solve the problem.
  4. Students will implement the action and document their progress.
  5. Students will present their project to an audience.


The rubric will be used for assessment, including the following categories: research, proposed plan of action, implementation of action, and presentation. Group grades will be given for everything except the third step, which will be assessed individually. Class meeting day reflections will also be assessed.


  1. Internet access for research
  2. Note-taking materials
  3. Projector or display screen for presentations
  4. Presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint, Prezi)
  5. Lesson Plan and Reflections (Google Drive Folder)
  6. Inspirational resources:
    2. Sites That Help Kids Do Good, Common Sense Media

Step-by-Step Instructional Plan (see folder for details)

Week 1

On the first day, teachers will introduce students to the project, explain the four steps, and lead them in a brainstorming session to generate possible research questions/issues.  Students will have a chance to look at the assessment rubric.  Over the next two days, students will choose their research question/issue and start the research process.  Teachers will guide students in using reliable sources and taking notes.  At the end of the week, students will complete their research and write a brief summary of their findings.

Week 2

During the first couple days, students will propose a plan of action to solve the problem they researched.  Teachers will guide them to think of achievable and measurable solutions.  Throughout the rest of the week, students will refine their plan of action and create a timeline for implementation.  Students will then work to implement their plan of action and document the process.  Students will complete class meeting day reflections (individually) and turn them in by the end of class for the day(s) assigned.

Week 3

During the first half of the week, students will prepare their presentation using a film, a slideshow, or other visual aid.  Teachers will guide to them to think about their audience and present findings clearly and concisely.  Presentations take place at the end of the week: depending on the number of projects and groups, presentation time will range from 5 to 15 minutes.  A gallery format could also be used.

Extensions and Enrichment

  1. “Why YPAR [Youth Participatory Action Research]” (Resource from University of California, Berkeley that features expansive curriculum and resources to enrich YPAR projects.)
  2. What is Action Research” (Overview of approach to action research, centered on teacher-conducted researc)
This post is part of the Civic Engagement and Civic Journalism collection.