Assignment Ideas


Go beyond the ordinary. Using creativity in designing assignments demands creativity from your students. The following assignments were gleaned from a variety of books, handouts and web sites. (See: Sources)

Title Description Type
Nobel Peace Prize Students nominate someone or a group for the Nobel Peace prize. Learn about person, prize, jury. Research, writing
Research an event Students attend an event (game, concert), write a citation for it and find an article, a book and a web site about the composer, the sport, etc. Research, writing
Topic on Web Students choose topic and find all websites which discuss it. Include annotated bibliography Research, history, writing
Information search Write short paper about research process with bibliography of web sites.— state info need, research, evaluate. Research, writing
Historical figure Students are a historical figure for a day. Research person, time period, costume, culture. Be prepared to talk about it. Research, history, writing
Discussion between historical figures Students take persona of historical figure and interact with other figures keeping in character. Research history etc. Research, history, writing
Adopt persona Students write letters or diary as real person or fictional character about historical event, everyday life Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Newspaper story Students write newspaper story describing event (social, political, cultural) Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Write editorial or column of opinion Students write editorial or opinion piece. Could be in historical context Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Create entire newspaper Include 'reports' of actual events, editorials, letters to editor. Eg. Abolitionist newspaper Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
News conferences Simulate interviews with real people of period. Questions contemporaries would have asked & questions with hindsight Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Create anthology Students compile anthology of articles and/or books plus introduction to show understanding of subject Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Build book collection Students build book collection for fictional library. Provide annotated bibliography with justification, availability, cost Research, analysis, writing
Compare articles Compare journal articles with conservative vs liberal tendencies Research, analysis, writing
Review a performance Write a review of a musical or dramatic performance. Reference reviews of debut, history, chronology Research, analysis, writing
Compose an exam Compose an exam on a topic. Include annotated bibliography of sources and rationale Research, analysis, writing
Plan off-campus study Students provide itinerary for an off-campus study trip — rationale, sites, annotated reading list for participants Research, analysis, writing
Create an action plan Students create an action plan for organizing around an area of interest. Investigate agencies Research, analysis, writing
Job interview preparation Assemble background information on a company or organization in preparation for a hypothetical interview. Research, analysis, writing
Write a grant proposal Write a grant proposal addressed to a specific funding agency, with literature review, budget. Research, analysis, writing
Class peer review Have class members peer review any written assignment Analysis, writing
Research topic Research topic in literature from '60s and '70s and then in '80s and '90s. Compare literature in bibliographic essay Research, analysis, writing
Evaluate psychological test Determine adequacy of psychological test based on literature. Then develop a test battery designed for clinical situation. Research, analysis, writing, psychology
Criticism of literature Prepare written criticism of literature on a topic with book reviews, citation indexes and biographical sources. Research, analysis, writing
Primary sources Using bibliographies, guides to the literature and Internet, students find primary sources on an issue or event Research, analysis, writing
Responsible patient As patients, students research a disease and diagnosis. 2 pages describes condition, symptoms, comparison of treatments Research, analysis, writing, biology
Legislation trail Follow piece of legistation through Parliament; understand issue and different political views Research, analysis, writing, political science
Foreign policy Follow particular foreign policy situation as it develops. Organizations involved, history, ideological conflicts Research, analysis, writing, political science
Research major person in discipline Through periodical literature, follow major person in a discipline; CV, bibliography, citations Research, analysis, writing
Research a career Describe and research an aspired career. Leading companies; outlook for occupation, expected starting salary Research, writing
Research a company Choose a company and find out employment policies, net worth, patents Research, writing
Biography Write a biographical sketch of famous person including time period Research, writing
Research portfolio or journal Have students maintain paper trail — document sources consulted, first draft, working bibliography, reflect on process Research, writing
In-class writing Assign topic for students to research and bring note cards to class then write the paper in class Research, writing
Debate in class Assign controversial topic & have students research and bring note cards to class then debate the topic on one side of the issue Research, writing
Literature Review Choose topic applicable to women and examine the literature from the '50s & '60s to see how the topic was being treated then Research, analysis, writing
Update literature review Choose number of specific psychological phenomena treated in review articles several years ago; student must update the review Research, writing, psychology
Primary sources Students examine primary materials on slave life or abolition and compare them to textbook treatment of subject Research, analysis, writing, history
Analysis of journals of opinion Examine body of journals available across political spectrum; select three representing different views; examine editorial opinion Research, analysis, writing, political science
Analyse differing articles Find several articles on same topic but with different positions; analyse two differing articles relating to your own ethical theory Research, analysis, writing, philosophy
Iconography of work of art Write paper on iconography of one of eight works of art based on students' own observation, library sources, time period, etc Research, analysis, writing, fine arts
Dramatize historical events Group of students choose a topic and develop an effective method to present topic to class (trial, debate); background research Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Compare definitions Students write their own definition of Afro-American music and then compile definitions from other sources; then compare; evaluate Research, analysis, writing, music
Create a portrait of an author and his literary life Choose author and reconstruct their life, their times and assess their work; can be highly personal judgement Research, analysis, history, creativity, writing
Reaction to fiction Students write a short response to reading a novel giving their honest reaction Creativity, writing
Explore a cliche Select a cliche and translate into psychological terms; research related issues and state whether you think cliche is true Research, writing, creativity, Psychology
Interview family member Interview older family member about their earlier life; research that time period and weave personal material with background Research, writing, creativity, History
Early music in its setting Select piece of music and research setting for an early performance; write fictionalized account of you at performance (letter, diary) Research, analysis, writing, music
Prepare for interview of famous person As journalist, extensively research an individual, compose intro to interview, draft 10 questions to ask Research, analysis, writing
Personal journals Math students keep a journal about their thought processes Writing
Letter to a sick friend Math students write to a sick friend explaining what they missed in class Writing, comprehension, math
Letter to a history major Math students write to a friend who is a history major explaining what Calculus is all about and why they should take it Writing, comprehension, Math
Tracing a chain of events Choose an past event and trace how it was covered in the various types of media (news, newspapers, magazines, journals, etc Research, analysis, writing
Primary sources Choose a decade of history and ask students to find primary sources and put together a montage of information and images Research, writing, creativity, history
Primary sources Have students read secondary source and determine which primary sources were used. Discuss how they would locate Research, writing
Primary sources Give students a primary source from the time period or topic under discussion; brainstorm on questions it raises and how to research Research, writing, creativity