In this activity students will need background knowledge about Earth's natural biogeochemical cycles (water, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus). I generally provide students with several online interactive animations for each cycle to explore and learn about. Students then brainstorm companies and individuals that have either a positive or negative effect on the environment. I like for students to make this relevant to them. For example, if they shop at a specific store, buy a specific product often, or visit a place frequently (ex: amusement parks, boardwalk, hotel, skate park, etc..) they should look into those companies/people. Students research the impacts that company is having and make connections to the cycles, impacts on living organisms, and humans.
I had students bring in a first draft of the letter to be reviewed in class by peers. Then allowed a few days to made edits. I then provided feedback without grading the letters for students to do a second round of revisions, and then collected 2 copies. One to be graded and one to be mailed (students should find all addresses on their own. Optionally if no address was available they could email and put my email in the BCC field).
It is really exciting to see students get excited and feel connected to the science and receive responses.