Thursday, April 30, 2009

Learn Anything!

If you could research ANYTHING. What would you choose? My student have been getting a research paper (and extensive 8-15 page paper) together for the past two months. I let them choose ANYTHING (within reason and school appropriateness). I call it their Inquiry Report.

I get such a thrill looking through the topics to see what they chose. I think it gives us a good inside into the teenage brain. Also, I feel like I learn SO much about so many things when I read through them over the next week because they kids REALLY do their research. They make each topic fascinating!!

I love my job. Have I mentioned that before?

Here you go, (remember, we're a Math, Engineering and Science based school):

Gordon More Founder of Intel


The Evolution of Computers

Hayao Miyazaki: His Life and Works

Bob Marley and the Wailers (every year I always get a Bob Marley paper, never fails!)

The Power of Nuclear Reactions

Harry Potter Movies

Child Soldiers

The Silk Road

The Grimm Brothers

Electric Cars

The Bell Jar: A Woman's Story of Depression


Archery in the Middle Ages

Albert Einstein (he's a regular too!)

Harrison Ford (he's a new one!)

The Works and Achievements of Ozzy Osbourne



The Hulk Comics

Salem Witch Trials

Plastic Surgery

Cows (? Really, ANYTHING in the WORLD and I get a paper on Cows?)

Walt Disney

Mummies and How They Have Affected Our World

The Solar System

Tyra Banks (again, REALLY?)

Jim Jones: The Face of Evil

Terrifying Realities: the truth about drug trafficking

What would YOU like to know more about??


jomama said...

what a great idea, d'arcy! wish i could read these papers, especially the one about depression.
i think i would have a really hard time picking just one topic to write a paper about. here are some of the things i'm extremely interested in right now: different lenses in photography, the history of yoga, the history of different governments in latin america, paper-cutting, meditation, biographies of different musicians like kurt cobain, bob dylan, etc.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
What an eclectic mix of topics. I must write that "Mummies and how they have affected our world" promises to be an interesting read.
I would choose to research the relationship between drug companies and the medical profession and why it is becoming "normal" to diagnose and prescribe drugs to any kid any 5?

Ruahines said...

Me again,
I meant, under 5, sorry!

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

Ooooh, Tyra Banks. I love her!

Just kidding. That cracks me up. I wish my teachers would have given me such an open-ended assignment. Fun!

smiles4u said...

Have I told you how much I respect you and think you are such a great teacher? What a great idea and how interesting it must be to read their papers. I think it's great that you give them the freedom to research a topic of their interest and let them run with it. You are a blessing to them. Some days I know teachers can wonder if their students are "getting it" or if all their work is worth it but you do touch lives by teaching. Great job my friend!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

wow. You must be a great teacher. Those are some hefty topics, am really impressed with the Bell Jar.

Alisa said...

I was thinking that I would love to do more research on Early Modern society and women's roles, then realized that is exactly what my thesis was on. So that tells me two things:

1. I am not very creative (and I can do better at coming up with various topics I'm interested in)

2. Five years later, I confirm that I loved what I studied in grad school (and that's a good thing)

Some other topics I would love to research if I had the time: vegitarianism, India, energy work/meditation, and native plants and flowers of the American Southwest.

Anonymous said...

When I tell my students to choose ANYTHING I get a few interesting topics--plastic surgery, how to get your boyfriend to break up with you--and way too many the-pros-and-cons-of-school-uniforms. If I read that one more time i shall scream.

Michelle said...

For a moment I thought that "History of Computers" said "History of Cupcakes" and I got excited.

So, yes. I'd like to learn about the history of cupcakes, 'cause they are delicious and pretty.

Boquinha said...

Cool list! Harry Potter movies--neat!

For me, I get all excited learning about anything related to the transcendentalist movement (LOVE that time period), but specifically anything about Emerson. Oh and I second meditation and energy work, too. :)

Rowena said...

Those are great topics. Did i ever tell you that I used to do a "passion quest" that sounded much like your inquiry. Great minds.

Beth said...

I would like to research about turn of the century inventions, fashion in other countries,(like how the fashion reflects the culture and traditions), forensic science, and possibly Hugh Jackman...

Gustav said...

What a cool idea.

I am sharing this with Maya. She recently did a powerpoint on why dogs are preferable pets compared to cats.

If I were your student my topic would be:

Profiles in Happiness - research dedicated to strategies used for people to remain happy and fulfilled no matter what.

little miss erika said...

First of all, love hearing teaching stories. One time my sister did this exercise where she made all of her students crawl and roll around on the floor. When they asked the purpose afterwards, she just laughed and told them she thought it'd be fun! =) hah!

I would love to know how democracy is taught to Communist Chinese children. There's an awesome documentary -- Please Vote For Me -- about elementary aged children electing a class monitor. FASCINATING!

lakeviewer said...

I stopped in and got hooked by the letter to the media of the 3rd grader. (are these your students?)

REread said...

hilarious... i love the one 'CHEESE'

ophelia rising said...

Wow, I love these topics! What great kids. Some of these sound really interesting.

There are so many topics that interest me, so it's difficult to choose. I suppose one would be the relationship between music and culture, and how they have historically affected one another.

I can see that you are a WONDERFUL teacher. Keep going, woman. We need more like you in the world.

Sugar Jones said...

oooohhh... I'd love to read the one about The Bell Jar.

I think I'd like to research nature v nurture when it comes to siblings. How can two people grow up in the same house with the same challenges and opportunities turn out SO differently.

No... not me... stop asking! ;)