This is an adaptation of a project I saw at the 2011 NCTE conference. It was named the "Great Words Project" by its creator, so the name cannot be attributed to me. However, I adapted the project to work for 7th-grade students.
It is a vocabulary project that includes independent research, group evaluations, students teaching and presenting, speaking and listening, and coming up with their own list of vocabulary words.
You can have them choose their words according to a theme, a common root, a prefix/suffix, and more. You could tie it in to whatever novel(s) the students are reading, or into a specific unit you are covering. It is endlessly flexible, the students love it, and it gets them doing independent research.
I can't tell you how fun it was to listen to kids debate whether they should include "scrofulous" in their project.