I work at a project-based school, which means the bulk of the students' credit is earned by way of independent projects. For example if they are interested in tigers they may design an enclosure for a captive tiger to earn credit in ecology, environmental science, math, etc.
Our students do projects like this all year, so I try to get them thinking about their interests right away on the first day of school. I do this by using this project brainstorming activity. When brainstorming project ideas with students I usually default to questions like "what are you hobbies?", "what do you do when you're not at school?", "what is your favorite subject in school?". This only gets me so far. It is surface level and doesn't typically inspire exciting, innovative projects. This packet includes 12 tasks that get the students digging a little deeper to get at the heart of their interests and/or open doors to topics/concepts/issues they didn't know existed.
I have my students keep this packet in their folders throughout the year to refer back to if they are in a project slump. They can pull it out to see what project ideas they were inspired by at the beginning of the year, or repeat some of the tasks to inspire new ideas. I also use it as part of orientation for new students that come throughout the year.
Note: this activity requires access to internet.