How Can Our Community Help Limit the Rat Population in Harlem?

Class 801

Ms. R. Jones



The presence of rats will always be an inconvenience to homes and commercial buildings. For many, this is the nastiest nuisance that any property can ever have. No one wants to live in a home where you know germs and other diseases may be lingering around simply because there are rats. As to community buildings, clients can be turned off when they see rats running through the area. Restaurants in Harlem have had many problems and citations because rats have gotten into establishments and destroyed food and other necessities for business.

Rats are various medium sized, long tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus Rattus. They are typically distinguished from mice by their size . There are 56 known species of rats in the world.

Rat sightings in Harlem have reached their highest total on record, last year and are on pace to surpass that number in 2023 according to 311 complaint data. In 2023, residents of Harlem have spotted rats 2114 times which will pass the total of 2022 sightings of 2298 rats. Something needs to be done in our community to eliminate this annoying, disgusting problem.



During this unit, we will take some time to focus on the real-world problem of rats in our neighborhood of Harlem. You will be divided into groups of three and you will be responsible for putting together a presentation that will give us ideas about how we can help stop the growing rat population in our Harlem Community. Your group will also be responsible for writing a letter to the Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levin and give him your group ideas on how to stop the rodent population in Harlem.



In your group, you will work together and use the steps of the PPA in order to do your research for the project. Over the next few days in class, you will be using the PPA Process to create a presentation of your findings and to write a group letter to Mark Levine Manhattan Boro President. The steps of the PPA Process are the following:

1.   Define the Problem

2.   Gather Evidence

3.   Identify the cause

4.   Evaluate the Existing Policy

5.   Develop a Solution

6.   Select the Best Solution


Day One: Define the Problem and Gather Evidence


There are a lot of rats in the Harlem Community. In your groups, you will research and show how serious the rat problem is in Harlem. You will use the laptops in order to do this task. I will provide you with a few resources.


Once you have reviewed the two articles, fill out the worksheet defining the problem.


        Worksheet 1: Defining the Problem

        Worksheet 2: Gather the Evidence of the Problem

        Worksheet 3: Identifying the Causes of the Problem



Day Three: Evaluate existing policy

Today you will look at policies that are in place for your problem and then you will evaluate them using the worksheet provided. I have provided you with some sites to get you started on this task.

Worksheet 4: Evaluating Existing Public Policies



Day Four: Develop Solutions

For this step, you will look back at the policies you evaluated in the day three assignment. Use the following worksheet to develop possible solutions for the problem.

Worksheet 5: Developing Public Policy Solutions



Day Five: Select the best Solution

For this final step, you will use the worksheet to analyze and select the best solution that will solve the problem.

Worksheet 6: Select the Best Solution






Great Job 4

Good 3

Almost 2

Not evident 1

Group Work

Worked well in group

Worked well with some/all of the group

Worked with some group members

Did not engage with the group during the project.

Knowledge and content and research

Used multiple sources to research rat problem in Harlem

Used two sources to research rat problem in Harlem

Used one source to research rat problem in Harlem

Did not use any sources to research the rat problem in Harlem.

Presentation and letter to Boro President

Includes all steps of the PPA and letter highlights solutions to rat problem.

Includes some of the steps of the PPA and letter highlights some solutions to rat problem.

Includes less than three steps of the PPA and not many solutions for the rat problem in the letter.

None of the steps of the PPA included and no letter provided or no solutions for the rat problem in the letter.




Throughout this project, you have worked in groups to find a solution to the rat problem in our beloved Harlem. You have done research, looked at policies, created a presentation and wrote a letter to our Manhattan Borough President. You have also come up with solutions that you feel that would best eliminate the rat problem in Harlem.






RST1: Cite specific evidence to support analysis of scientific and technical texts, charts, graphs, diagrams, etc. Understand and follow a detailed set of directions.

RST2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a source; provide an accurate, objective summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

RST3: Describe how and why scientific ideas and reasoning are developed and modified over the course of a text, source, argument, etc. Craft and Structure RST4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other content-specific words.

NGSS Science Standards

MS-LS2-5 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.*

Performance Expectation

Grade: Middle School (6-8)