I give my students some time to read the short, 3 paragraph introduction I created on the first page of this unit. We then spend time discussing how the past 100 years and the development of music in the 1900s and beyond has been revolutionary, experimental and outstanding. I then turn to the next page and read with students the guidelines of this project.
In facilitating this unit, we spend 2-3 days gathering research in Research Packet (another purchase, listed under Modern Music Research Project: Research Packet), and beforehand discuss reliable/vs unreliable sources to find information. My school uses a really awesome database called 'Research in Context', but you can give kids specific guidelines on reliable vs unreliable information. (Especially in today's age of 'fake news!')
Each section of research (and what kids should be looking for in their research) is clearly explained in this 'Modern Music Research Project' packet. I have given example questions that students might answer in their research. I stress to students that they might not find ALL of that information, and they might find different questions to answer- that's okay. The 'story they tell' on each band/artist is theirs to tell, but the information I have provided is a good general guideline.
After we have read through the description of each section of research, and students have asked questions, I sometimes will show them an example Research Packet that I have completed, bullet pointing important information on the band/artist. Sometimes I will show them an example Google Slides presentation to give them an idea of the 'finished product'.
We then spend 2-3 days where students create Google Slides presentations to 'teach' the class about their band/artist. This is a lot of fun! I always stress to kids to get the written work in their slideshow first, and then have fun with graphics, pictures, etc. There is a rubric on the bottom of the Modern Music Research Packet where you can see how I grade students on their work. You can obviously alter this in whatever way you choose, but it has been successful in grading my students' work. After the kids do research for a few days and have documented their findings, I usually show them another example presentation where kids can see clarity of information, pictures, color and a good 'story' of that artist/band's work and life.
Obviously this can be modified/tweaked/changed in whatever way you need, but I have found this project to be wildly successful and the students really love learning about the bands/artists from the past 100 years. The final sheet of this packet suggests some of the top acts from the past century. I have come up with this list, and when I let students choose their person, sometimes I will white out specific artists to narrow down the ones I want to see presented and discussed with that specific group. You can make your own list, modify mine, or use what I have provided for you.
I spend about 2 weeks in class watching student presentations and we have a lot of fun watching the music videos, concert recordings and performances by the most stellar acts of the 20th century. Kids get really into it and ask good questions, and I have them completing a listening log to write down information on the artists they learn about. (Let me know if anyone is interested in this as well!)
This is a LOT of information, and I am happy to answer specific questions on it if need be! Good luck, and have fun!!