"Two Research Paper Projects" entices middle and high school students to compose a 6-10 page paper where they deep dive into a general topic to develop a premise that hooks their heads and hearts. They choose the sources from a variety of types including but not limited to: books, periodicals-hardcopy and online- interviews, findings from museums, and internet searches. This choice aspect leads to ownership and results in writing that stems from enthusiasm and the thrill of investigating a subject that captures their interest. Students also select the genre of writing they will use to show their findings-nonfiction or fiction.
In "Voices Across the Generations," a study of the historical and cultural events of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, students focus on an event that impacted the people of that time period. They interview senior citizens who were teenagers during the situation regarding: their memories of the event (who, what, where and when), and how this happening changed their lives, their beliefs, their way of viewing the world and their choices. They also research the event's impact on society. If they choose nonfiction for their papers, this includes, but is not limited to: a memoir, a description and analysis of an event and its impact on society, or a persuasive piece where they use their research to support their stance on the effect of the event on society then and now. Another writing choice is fiction where students create a historical fiction story based loosely on one of the people they interviewed, using facts from their research to develop the story. Lists for each decade offer 20-35 topics students may explore, or they can choose a subject not on the list that interests them.
The second option is "Society’s Effect on the Individual." For this project, students explore a topic on a social issue that impassions them. This may be one that germinates from a discussion of a novel in class, or it may be a social topic for which they have strong feelings. Whatever issue they choose, it must be a topic that greatly impacts their generation, and must fit the theme: Society’s effect on the individual. For the research paper, they will take a position on this topic, research it, and then prove their thesis in a 6-8 page paper using their research as supporting material. If a literature-based research paper is preferred, students should tie in the study of writing and documenting research with a specific novel that they are reading for class.
The options for choosing the subject matter as well as the genre of writing erases the trepidation that often accompanies a research assignment and replaces it with excitement. Because of the ownership aspect and the inclusion of the "Just Say NO to Taboo Words and Phrases" chart, students' writing is strengthened.
The inclusion of five pages of handouts, "Appendix #1: Making Connections," on choosing, organizing, using and citing sources reinforces research concepts. "Appendix #2: Grading Rubrics" offers teachers two rubrics: one for evaluating the research material, and the other for grading the actual paper.General and specific to project Teacher Notes are also included.
Students love delving into the who, what, when, where and why in the relationships and situations that touch their lives. Lasso that fervor with "Two Research Paper Projects."
Two more research projects:
Writing Activity - Banned Books Research Project
Writing:Research Project - Theme-Based
Empower students to strengthen their writing and to gain confidence in this aspect of ELA with:
Writing: EDIT THIS! Revise & Rewrite Right
Writing: Write Right! Incredible Critique Forms and Rubrics
WRITING: SHOWING NOT TELLING-THE EMOTION POTION
Enjoy a Teach It Now Day Every Day,
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