Investigate Presidential or Inaugural Traditions
Students will select a tradition associated with the U.S. president or the presidential inauguration, conduct research to learn about its history and brainstorm ideas about how tradition might be implemented during Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration and presidency. Then they will create a timeline to show what they learned.
Decipher Freedom Songs
Students will analyze the lyrics of a Freedom Song to decipher its hidden meaning. They will provide historical evidence that supports the connections they see. They will discuss the impact Freedom Songs had on the Civil Rights Movement.
Explore Holiday Traditions
Students will conduct research to learn about a holiday and its traditions. They will draw or create something that embodies the meaning of their holiday. Then they will write a report or choose an appropriate mode of writing to tell what they learned about the holiday and its traditions.
Invent a New Way to Use Snow
Students will conduct research to learn about the characteristics of snow. Then they will brainstorm ideas for an innovative product that utilizes recycled snow and create a detailed sketch of their design. They will explain how they would store the snow until summer.
Create a Global Cookie Recipe Book
Students will conduct research to find a recipe and learn the history of cookies around the world. They will use what they learned to create informational pages about each cookie. Then they will compile the pages to create a global cookie recipe book.
Students will conduct research to learn about modern-day and historical protests. They will write a summary or detailed essay outlining what they learned.
Design a Parade Balloon
Students will investigate the history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Then they will brainstorm ideas and create a balloon of their own.
Write a Memoir
Students will understand what a memoir is and how it differs from a biography or autobiography. They will use what they learned to write a brief memoir about their lives.
Write a News Article
Students identify an event that happened during a war or a veteran who received a medal for his or her actions during a war. Then they choose a format and write a news article about their subject.
Hold a Mock Election
Students will investigate to learn about candidates' ideologies. They will present these views during a debate. The class will vote to elect a candidate and discuss the results.
Explore the Symbols of Halloween
Students will investigate bats and other objects and discuss reasons why these items became symbols for Halloween. They will draw pictures of objects that symbolize Halloween or the Day of the Dead. Then they will discuss how and why their symbols represent these holidays.
Create a Magazine
Students investigate the history of magazine publishing and analyze the components of modern magazines. Then they create their own magazines with features, a format and functions that will appeal to a specific target audience.
Report on an Extraterrestrial Experience
Students will imagine that they are the first person from Earth to make contact with an intelligent alien life form. They will write a first-person account describing the experience.
Inspire and Promote Respect and Acceptance
Students will brainstorm ideas for a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. They convey that message through a poster, poem, song or other format and present their work to the class.
Create a Fall Festival Float
Students will identify key traits of their town or the area where they live. They will incorporate those traits into a "float" that they build for a fall festival.
Investigate Diversity in Books
Students will examine the character traits and issues represented in books written for their age group. They will evaluate the results to determine whether or not the books are a realistic depiction of the diversity encountered and issues faced in their local communities.
Create a Quiz-Style Game
Students will investigate the U.S. Constitution and how changes, such as the evolution of voting rights, have impacted different parts of the population. Then they will select a format and create a quiz-style game to challenge classmates' knowledge on the topic.
Design a Food Forest
Students design a plan for a food forest in their community. The plan includes details about location, content, maintenance, customer base and funding.
Outline a Business Plan
Students brainstorm ideas for a new product or service and draw a prototype or draft an outline explaining how it will work. Then they write a general business plan explaining how they will make, market and deliver their idea to customers.
Show and Tell About Your Summer
Students select a photo taken over the summer break. They write a description telling how the image represents what their summer was all about.
Create a Summer Reading List
Students identify and analyze the books they read as part of the curriculum this year. Then they will create a summer reading list for next year's students that will help them prepare for the upcoming school year.
Decoding Patterns in Nature
Students will identify and classify patterns found in nature. They will use letters or fractals to decode the patterns mathematically. Then they will draw an original piece of artwork based on the pattern they found.
Create a Reality Competition
Students will investigate the format of various reality shows. Then they will select a subject they are currently studying or would like to study and outline the format of a new reality show featuring students their age.
Rewrite a Fairy Tale
Students will select a fairy tale. They will identify basic elements in the tale as it is told. Then they will list ways important details and the plot could be revised to give the fairy tale a modern twist. Students will rewrite the fairy tale, incorporating these changes into the text.
Imagine Ways to Improve Military Lives
Students will conduct research to learn about a branch of the armed services. They will identify current problems facing military personnel and/or their families. Then they will brainstorm ideas for a solution.
Write a Message in a Bottle
Students will write a letter to people living 100 years from now. They will relate both important news and everyday experiences so the people of 2116 understand what life was like in the year 2016.
Write a Persuasive Argument
Students will conduct research to learn about the types of people who most commonly appear on U.S. and world coins and notes. Then they will select someone they think deserves to be honored this way in the U.S. Students will write a persuasive argument supporting their nominee, using the results of their calculations to support their opinions.
Write a Sensory Poem
Students will write a sensory poem that tells about an awe-inspiring place. They will include descriptions and examples so readers understand how this place makes them feel.
Invent a Character
Students will invent a new character to include in one of Beverly Cleary's books. Then they will write a scene in which that character interacts with existing characters on one of their adventures.
Write Science Fiction
Students will conduct research to learn about current projections for space travel. Using that knowledge as a base, they will write a science fiction story about living in outer space.
Vote on Your State's Flag
Students will conduct research to learn about the significance of each symbol on their state's flag. They will design a new flag of their own. Then the class will vote to select a new design or keep the status quo.
Create a Virtual Reality Experience
Students will select a historical landmark or event and conduct research to learn more about it. They will collect photos or illustrations to show what what life was like during a specific time period. Then they will create a poster or write a script for a historically accurate virtual reality experience.
Design a Better Umbrella
Students will conduct research to learn about unique umbrella designs from the past. Then they will brainstorm ideas for a new umbrella and create a detailed sketch of their design. They will explain how their idea overcomes issues that stump most umbrella designers-function, price and size.
Create a Game for Pi Day
Students will investigate the history of Pi Day and create a game to celebrate this mathematical holiday.
Create a Statue Honoring a Woman
Students will identify all of the statues of women in a selected area, plot the statues' locations on a map and explain why the statues exist. Then they will select another historical woman with a connection to that place, decide where a statue honoring her should be erected and create a sketch of a statue honoring her achievements.
Get Creative with History
Students will write a comic strip or graphic novel about a historical topic that features someone whose contributions have been forgotten over time. Their plots will incorporate related objects found at Smithsonian museums.
Campaign for a National Monument
Students will conduct research to identify a location they think should be granted national monument status. They will compose a list of reasons justifying their selection. Then they will create a promotional campaign to support their cause.
Build a Historical Family Tree
Students will create a mock family tree composed of historical figures. They will use factual information about the "family members" they chose to explain why they included specific people in their family trees.
Profile a Minority Artist
Students will conduct research to learn about a modern-day minority artist who works in the entertainment field–theater, music, art, television, movies, etc. They will create an illustrated profile highlighting key aspects of the artist's personal and professional life. Based on that profile, they will write a one-act play, dialogue or monologue to tell about the artist.
Create a Book Award
Students will write a list of criteria for a literary award and design a medal for the winner. They will identify books that they think should win the new award.
Write About It
Students will imagine that they just got an electric-powered drone and took it up for the first time. They will write a first-person account describing what they see, feel, hear or otherwise sense throughout the flight.
Create an Interactive Map
Students will conduct research to learn about the political, social, geological and/or economic history of a topic they are currently studying or the area where they live. They will create an interactive map that highlights what they learned.
Research, Redesign and Report
Students select a science fiction movie, identify one notable object it includes and conduct research to learn how to build a better version of that object. They draw a model and write a report to show and tell how the redesign will improve the object's performance.
Analyze Internet Usage
Students will record their Internet usage for one week and analyze the results. Then they will conduct interviews to learn how the Internet has changed people's lives. Then they will create cartoons to illustrate what they learned.
Investigate an Invention
Students will select an everyday object related to winter, conduct research to learn about its history, brainstorm ideas about how the product could be improved and create a timeline to show what they learned.
Create Literary Maps
Students will create a detailed literary map outlining the storyline of a book they've recently read.
Create Statue of Liberty Exhibits
Students will conduct research to learn more about the Statue of Liberty. They will use that knowledge to create exhibits for the new museum.
Create a Thanksgiving Menu
Students will create their own Thanksgiving menus featuring their favorite foods and drinks along with items that are directly related to their family's heritage.
Record and Share Life Histories
Students will learn proper interviewing techniques, identify appropriate questions and record a conversation with a grandparent or other adult. They will share the life histories they collect and use the content to learn more about the world around them.
Volunteer for a Veteran
Students identify a specific way they can help a local veteran. They plan and participate in a volunteer project to thank the veteran for his or her service to the country.
Investigate and Recreate a Masterpiece
Students select a famous piece of art with a fall or harvest theme. They investigate to learn about the artist and the painting. Then they use everyday objects to recreate the masterpiece on large piece of poster board.
Say It/Search It/Map It
Students identify local or familial metaphors or clichés, conduct research to learn where the phrases came from and create a map plotting the sayings' origins.
Design Your Own Baseball Card
Students identify a special quality or trait they have and create baseball cards showcasing this characteristic. They give examples of how this quality has helped them succeed.
Honor Humorous Scientific Achievement
Students conduct scientific investigations on topics related to life in school. They summarize the results, focusing on a humorous aspect of the research. As groups present their findings, classmates evaluate each investigation and honor the ultimate humorous scientific achievement.
Design a Plant-Based Product
Students select a plant, investigate its traits and design something useful that mimics one of the plant's characteristics. Then they sketch a model of their design and write a brief description of its plant-based features.
Establish An Anti-Bullying Program
Students discuss what a bully is and identify different types of bullying they've seen. Then they create an anti-bullying program with rules for how to act, advice for younger students, guidelines for social media or ways to counter bullying through a positivity campaign.
Map Native American History
Students will create a new official state map, plotting and identifying natural wonders by their original Native American names. They will conduct research to learn more about each location. Then the class will discuss how using the original names of natural wonders can help people better understand the state’s cultural history.
Create A Hunger Relief Plan
Students will create a hunger relief plan for their school's unused cafeteria food. Students will present their final plan to their school's leaders. They will lobby for permission to turn the plan into a working program to feed hungry people in their local area.
Create A Public Service Announcement
Students will create a public service announcement. They will present their PSA to the class and challenge classmates to identify the purpose and central message. The class will discuss how the content and approach of each message is tailored to attract a specific target audience.
Write A Message in A New Language
Students will create new words or a new language. Using a set of rules, students will decipher messages and write a response in the new language. After the messages have been deciphered, the class will discuss the activity.
Investigate a Job
Students will create an informational poster about a job of their choice. They will work together to categorize jobs by type or industry and analyze the results. Students will identify jobs or industries that look promising for the future and those that they predict will become a thing of the past.
Write a Review
Students explore the key elements of writing a review. They use those elements to write a review of their summer. Students share their summer vacation reviews in small groups. They analyze each review to determine whether or not the rating is accurate and the writer was fair in his or her assessment of the events.
Identify and Share Goals
Invite students to share their finished boxes with the class. Encourage students to explain why they chose one or more of their goals. Challenge them to outline how they can accomplish their goals. Collect all boxes. Use them during the school year as a way to inspire students to continually strive to reach their goals.
Create a virtual reality experience / Write a marketing plan
Review each plan. Encourage students to describe their virtual-reality experiences. Assess how well each idea is depicted in the illustrations. Challenge students to explain why each experience is a relevant, meaningful way to promote the film and how it fits into the overall marketing plan.
Analyze Facts and Fiction / Analyze Movies
Review the results as a class. Challenge students to satisfactorily defend each item. Encourage them to share all supporting information, identify all sources used and explain why each source is credible.
Design an Athletic Uniform
Invite students to read their biographies and share their displays with the class. Encourage classmates to examine each design to determine how well the uniforms meet the form, function and fashion needs of each client.
Analyze Perceptions and Stereotypes
Invite students to share their ideas with the class. Challenge them to explain how they can use this lesson to improve their interactions with others.
Create a Webcomic
Invite students to share their webcomics with the class. Evaluate each to identify how students incorporated narrative elements and the parts of a comic—text, layout and design and angles—into the finished product. As a class, discuss how each webcomic helps explain the selected topic.
Create a Disaster Relief Kit
Invite students to share their plans and a photo of their kits with the class. Examine the plans and kits to ensure that they contain all of the necessary items.
Create a Campaign Slogan
Students should tie their slogans to one key issue in the candidate’s campaign. Their slogans should be short, memorable, and linked to common values that will generate a favorable response from voters.
Make a Brochure
All brochures should contain facts and photos relevant to the topic.
Make a Virtual Exhibition
Invite students to present their finished exhibits to the class. Evaluate each based on the requirements for the assignment. Discuss with students how this format can be used to create a virtual exhibit on any subject.
Volunteer in Your Community
After students complete their volunteer project, hold a class discussion to recap what happened. Encourage students to share how they contributed during the day.
Play a Game to Review Content
Administer a "post-game wrap-up," which consists a of practice spelling test or a collection of the questions you wish to review. Perform the wrap-up as a class or in small groups. Revisit any words or questions that students are still struggling to understand.
Analyze Leadership Qualities
After each presentation, encourage classmates to compare the candidate's qualifications to the list of traits and characteristics the class has identified. After all candidates have been introduced, poll the class to see which of leaders they would most like to have in charge. Challenge students to explain why this candidate rose above the others.
Make a Brochure / Calculate Time
Invite groups to share their brochures with the class. Inspect each to determine that it tells about at least one time-related event.
Create an Optical Illusion
Invite students to share their drawings with the class. Instruct them to identify what their eyes see and what their brains know. Challenge students to pinpoint elements in their drawings that cause their eyes to misinterpret the information.
Explore Point of View / Write in First Person
Invite students to share their finished stories with the class. Encourage students to share what they liked most about each story. After hearing all of the stories, invite students to share examples of how authors used the character’s observations to tell the story from his or her perspective. Analyze how presenting the story from a different point of view could affect someone’s interpretation of the event.
Form a Valid Opinion
Have groups share their lists with the class. Poll the class again to see how students feel about the topic. Did conducting research affect the results? Why? Encourage students to use what they learned to support their opinions.
Write a Poem
Invite students to share their poems with the class. Check to see how closely each follows the format for the specified type of poem.
After each performance, challenge classmates to identify which student portrayed each character in the skit. Further evaluate the performances based on the grade-level criteria outlined below.
Identify a path to success
Invite student to share their ideas in small groups. Encourage classmates to brainstorm suggestions for expanding or fine-tuning one another’s ideas.
Make a Timeline / Create an Exhibit
Arrange students’ posters chronologically in the classroom to create a timeline about the topic. Invite other classes to visit and tour the exhibit. Encourage students to answer visitors’ questions about their posters.
Write an Inspirational Speech
Invite students to present their speeches to the class. Remind them to incorporate effective techniques in their delivery.