Students select a U.S. State at random and conduct research on it. I've always viewed it as a sort of scavenger hunt. There's probably 50 or so things they're looking for in regards to their state. There is a small writing component to it where they have to argue why their state is awesome in a paragraph. In addition to the packet/questions, I also have them make a poster or PowerPoint and present that at the conclusion of the research. Can definitely get a week or two out of this.