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Public Speaking


6th, 7th, 8th


Social Studies, English Language Arts


100 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Hawai'i


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Climate Activism: Public Speaking Lesson

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
May 23, 2024
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In this lesson, students analyze a speech by a youth climate activist before researching, writing, and presenting their own speech.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students reflect on the impact of climate change on communities, explore the importance of public speaking and discuss the qualities of a compelling public speaker.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students watch and annotate a speech by a youth climate activist, and collaborate on a list of best practices for writing and performing speeches.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students research, write, and present a speech about a climate change topic.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson aligns with Hawai‘i’s Nā Hopena A'o HĀ-BREATH Framework

  • This lesson provides students with an on-ramp to public speaking while bridging some common fears, such as speaking in front of an audience.

  • This lesson can easily be adapted and added to lessons or units about other topics. For example, this lesson can be combined with StC’s The Chemistry of Landfills lesson. Students could write speeches to express their opinions about the impact of landfills on communities.
  • This lesson can be extended to allow additional class time for delivery practice or memorization.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of climate change.

  • Students should have a basic understanding of how to annotate texts.

  • Students need devices and access to the Internet to use the links on the Student Document and conduct research for their speeches in the Inspire section.

  • Teacher can prepare a list of climate change topics for students to choose from.


  • Eighth-grade students or other advanced students can choose their own topics, conduct research independently, produce an annotated bibliography with at least three credible sources of information, and incorporate data into their speeches.

  • Students can learn and practice specific presentation skills such as eye contact, inflection, pausing, gestures, and non-verbal communication.

  • Teacher can provide examples of hooks and sentence starters.

  • Students can share their speeches with the school community, film their speeches to share with a broader audience online, or exchange recorded speeches with students at another school, using a platform such as Padlet.

Scientist Notes

With the help of this lesson, students can develop their public speaking abilities and share persuasive ideas about how communities could adapt to climate change with the general public. We fact-checked all the materials, and the lesson passed our science review.


Primary Standards

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions
      • D4.2.6-8 Construct explanations using reasoning, correct sequence, examples, and details with relevant information and data, while acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations.
      • D4.3.6-8 Present adaptations of arguments and explanations on topics of interest to others to reach audiences and venues outside the classroom using print and oral technologies (e.g., posters, essays, letters, debates, speeches, reports, and maps) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet, social media, and digital documentary).
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
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