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Food: past, present and future: Assignment

Final Project: Water Conference Panel of Experts

The Past, Present and Future of Food

Final Project: Poster Presentation

Due: Thursday, February 11, 2016

Every one of you came into this class with a different interest in and relationship to food. Hopefully now you have a deeper understanding of how food relates to the natural and human environment. In order to dig even deeper, your final project will be your chance to become an expert on a specific topic surrounding food or agriculture and the environment. It is also an opportunity to apply what you have learned to an area that you care about and want to investigate through further research and engagement.

Important Dates:

  • February 1st: Final project research question due
  • February 4th: Bibliography with at least 6 sources
  • February 11th: Final poster presentation

NB: Each component above will be graded.


One of the ways that knowledge around a certain topic is stretched and deepened, and innovative solutions are discovered and tested, is through an academic conference. In lieu of a final paper or exam, we will be having a Food Conference where you will get to present your research to your peers and answer any questions they might have. You will be selecting a topic and research question that will require you to do scholarly research. Your question could be around a controversial topic where you weight the pros and cons and determine your own position (supported by strong arguments); it could be about finding a solution to a particular problem, doing a cost-benefit analysis of the available solutions, and determining the best option; or it could be something entirely different.

You will be presenting your research on poster boards given to you. On the last day of class, we will have a conference gallery walk where you will present your research to your classmates. You will have a chance to evaluate each other’s research, ask questions, provide suggestions, and hopefully delve into meaningful conversations.

Just like a research paper or Powerpoint, your poster will need to include your question, background research, graphs and images, your methodology, a discussion of your key findings, and a bibliography. You will be working individually, and your participation grade will encompass active discussion participation during the gallery walk, as well as how well you use in-class work time. See the rubric on the back of this page for details.

Project Guidelines:

  • Your project should have an original question that requires extensive research into a variety of sources and perspectives rather than answerable in a single source. For instance, instead of the question, “How is overfishing affecting our marine ecosystems?”, your question could be, “What strategies have been developed to regulate overfishing, and what is crucial for a successful strategy?”
  • Your proposed research question must be written in a Google Doc and shared with me by February 1st. It must be feasible and detailed, including a proposal of what resources you might use for your research. These can be both textual and expert interviews.
  • You must be prepared to stand and talk about your project during the gallery walk for at least 20 min.
  • You must be prepared to answer questions about your project.
  • Your poster board must include the following:
    • Title, author, and affiliation (i.e. Bentley School).
    • Introduction and Research Question: Grab our attention with why this is important to you. Tell us why you came up with this research question.
    • Background on the Topic: What has been the research up until now? How does your research contribute to this debate or issue?
    • Research Discussion: Explain how you went about your research. What were your findings? Did you conduct any interviews? Directly refer to at least two of the sources you used. Make sure you cite your sources throughout. Include relevant graphs and images (these must also be correctly cited).
    • Conclusion: Summarize your findings. Describe the challenges and rewards of your research. Describe what further research might be necessary.
    • References: Make sure to cite all sources using MLA formatting. Include at least 8 sources, with at least 2 of them being a non-web resource. Make sure your resources are credible (ex. use online journal articles and sites ending in .gov. and .edu. Check in with me about .org and .com sites.)
  • Other tips:
    • Try to engage your audience throughout your presentation with thought-provoking questions.
    • Include interviews! You will have met a number of experts (Mr. Aparicio, Mr. Winch, Mr. Hudson). Ms. Farley at Slide Ranch may also be reachable. I can help you reach out to them for interviews so don’t be shy!
    • Make sure to balance text and images on your poster board. Your poster board should look appealing, easy to read, and engage the viewer.
    • Dress appropriately for this formal occasion.
    • Contact me if you ever have any questions!


Final Project Rubric:





Not Passing



>90% of class time is used effectively. During the gallery walk, you asked at least one question of all the experts.

80-89% of class time is used effectively.  During the gallery walk, you asked at least one question of 9 of the experts.

70-79% of class time is used effectively.  During the gallery walk, you asked at least one question of 4 of the experts.

Insufficient Effort

Final research question proposal (due Feb 1)


A clear and feasible research question was proposed and submitted on time.

A general idea lacking details was proposed and submitted on time.

A general idea lacking details was proposed and submitted after the due date.

Insufficient Effort

Initial Bibliography (due Feb 4)


A clear and detailed outline of your presentation was shared on time.

A general outline was shared on time.

A general outline was shared after the due date.

Insufficient Effort

Poster presentation


Poster meets all the criteria listed under Project Guidelines.

Poster meets most of the Project Guidelines.

Poster meets half of the Project Guidelines.

Insufficient Effort