This social issue project weaves in so many Common Core writing, listening, and speaking standards! Great to keep a language arts or gifted class highly engaged.
What you will love about this is that student directions, handouts, graphic organizers, and the grading rubric are already made for you. They are blank and ready to be printed, copied, and given to students. Virtually no ahead of time prep! There is also an "example/model essay" to use as a teaching tool and very specific directions on how to write a good introduction and conclusion.
I have used this with my middle school level English class and with my 5th grade gifted class. I do adjust some of the issues to be more age-appropriate for younger kids.
Students have MANY(about 30) social issues(world problems) to choose from. They start by exploring 3 of the topics on the "Social Issue" list and then narrowing it down to one issue they are passionate about(examples of issues to choose from-bullying, peer pressure, hunger, pollution, identity theft, animal rights, and many more).
My students always love the whole process(research, essay writing, presentation) of this project because they have such a wide variety of choice and a chance for their voices to be heard!