I like to do multimedia projects with my students.
Students will select a decade (I chose 1950s - 1980s). After extensive research, students create a period-long presentation that is both informative and interactive with their classmates. Costumes, music, video clips, etc. should all be part of the finished presentation.
Students are required to demonstrate how the music connects to the time period--to historical events or social movements. Simply playing music isn't enough. Lyrics have to be analyzed like poems.
I use this as the final project of the year--students are given approximately 8 class period to prepare everything (with 2 weekends). Presentations are the last week of school, prior to written exams.