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Here is a list of project ideas that you may select from to satisfy your project requirements. Project Path students must do three different types of projects during the semester (e.g., a poster, a piece of artwork, and a book report). This list is not meant to limit you. If you have an original idea, or if one of these ideas gives you another idea, let me know and we will discuss it!
SERVICE LEARNING: You may develop a service learning project that relates to any topic in the class and receive project credit PLUS credit toward your 24 hours of community service. The project must be something new that you begin during this semester. Write an essay of at least two pages explaining what you did and what you learned from the experience. Provide a copy of your documentation to verify the service learning project and the amount of time you spent volunteering.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR PROJECTS
Although you will be given a great deal of freedom regarding your projects, some guidelines will be in place. In general, these guidelines can be adjusted, but you must check with me prior to beginning the project (note this on the project proposal form). Each type of project has a unique rubric to guide you.
Reports Reports must focus on stated subjects or be approved. Reports must be original (in student's words), well organized (introduction, thesis, and conclusion), and be free from grammatical and spelling errors. At least two sources must be used and be fully cited. Reports should be 4 to 5 pages, double spaced, and typed in 12-point type. A first copy (handwritten or typed) must be used to edit and improve your report, and must be handed in with the final copy.
Presentations/ Presentations should be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance and should
Lessons last between 10 and 20 minutes. At least one visual aid must be utilized. The presentation/lesson should be focused, organized, and interesting. This is not to be a reading of reports. This project may be done in groups of 2 to 4 students.
Debates Debates should be done in the following format. An issue should be chosen and approved. No more than four people should be involved in a debate. Each side should write a "brief" on their position and exchange it with the other side. Each team will then use the briefs to prepare a rebuttal. Each team will get 5 minutes on their position and then will follow with a 3-minute rebuttal. The class will then vote for the side they believe has "won".
Political Cartoons A student should use his or her art talent to the best of their ability; whereas you are not graded so much on the art itself, the drawing must be neat, clear, and done with care. The student must portray a political or social issue or a historical event in a unique, funny, or clever manner. The message or point must be clear. The cartoon should show that the cartoonist understands the concept. It should be done on a large piece of cardboard or other sturdy material and the use of color is highly recommended. Include a brief typed commentary as part of the board or on a separate piece of paper.
Art An original art piece that portrays a political or social issue or a historical even in a unique way, or in a particular style popular during the time identified. The artwork should show a student's understanding of the concept and be created carefully to the best of the student's ability.
Poster Art Poster art can include propaganda, advertisements, collages, large thematic maps, or schematic diagrams. Poster board should be used and color is required. Extensive artistic ability is not necessary for this project, but the project must be very neat and well organized (e.g., titles, captions, etc.). A computer, scanner, and copy machine may be used for this type of project. The project should demonstrate that the student has a working knowledge of the concept being presented.
Interviews A short background of the person interviewed should be in writing for the teacher. Interviews should be focused; the questions should be centered around particular themes rather than random. The questions to be asked must be on the project proposal form in order to receive feedback from the teacher. However, you may ask the subject additional follow-up questions to obtain more information based on a planned question. Written summaries of the content should be completed. Interesting interview subjects can be invited to the class as guests if approved by the teacher for additional credit.
Book Reviews Books should be chosen from the project list or be pre-approved by the teacher. Book reviews should be well organized and well written. Certain books may serve as more than one unit of credit, at the teacher's discretion, due to their length. Be sure to complete the appropriate book review form (fiction or nonfiction).
Social Research The summary paper for your research should include an introduction, a question, review
Papers of the literature, a hypothesis, instrument sample, analysis of the data, and a conclusion.
The paper should be well written. The sample size must be at least 25 people. You may
(Correlation do this project with another student. If you do it on your own, you may receive
Studies) additional credit at the teacher's discretion.
Other Projects If you would like to do a project on an appropriate topic using a method not described above, submit your project proposal form with a specific description of your idea. The teacher will return the project proposal form to you (usually with approval for your idea!) with guidelines and advice concerning your idea.
PROJECT DUE DATES
Project Project Proposal Form Due Project Due
1 Friday, February 11, 2005 Friday, February 25, 2005
2 Friday, March 18, 2005 Friday, April 8, 2005
3 Friday, May 6, 2005 Friday, May 20, 2005
Book Review: Watership Down by Richard Adams. Book review and discuss the flaws in
human society as represented in this novel.
Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Book review and discuss the dangers of
having too much social control and examine social change in this novel.
Book Review: Lord of the Flies by Willian Golding. Book review and discuss the impact of the
breakdown of the basic components of society.
Book Review: Pardon Me You're Stepping On My Eyeball by Paul Zindel. Book review and analyze
how society reacts to people who are different.
Art: Create an original piece of artwork representing one of the three early theories in
sociology (Marx, Spencer, Durkheim).
Political Cartoon: Create a cartoon praising or criticizing one of the three major theorists.
Report: Pick a current social problem and write a description of the problem, and then explain the problem through the "lens" of one of the major sociological theories.
Poster Art: Create a poster that compares the three major sociological theories.
Social Research: Following the Social Research Paper guidelines - design, implement, analyze, and report
on any social problem that you are interested in investigating. The following project
idea is a specific example of what you could do.
Social Research: Perform a correlation study to compare people's driving habits with other aspects of
their lives. For example, do drivers who fail to use their directional signals also break
other rules in life? Are drivers who don't speed more organized than those who do
speed? This is a challenge: you have to be able to accurately measure the driving habits
of a large sample of people, while not encouraging them to change their habits because you are judging them.
Presentation: Use the book Do's and Taboos by Roger Axtel to develop a presentation about various cultures. Use visual aids.
Poster Art: Create a poster collage that demonstrates the wide variety of cultural heritages within the U.S. Use an outline map of the U.S. as a background. Include some demographic information regarding ethnicity/race within the U.S.
Report: Describe the elements of Amish cultures in the U.S. Discuss whether these cultures are impacted by the greater culture and why or why not.
Political Cartoon: Create a cartoon on any aspect of American culture (e.g., materialism, fame,
ethnocentrism, youth, etc.).
Poster Art: Display information and pictures of contemporary counterculture in the U.S.
Report: Research daily life in a foreign society. Discuss the similarities and differences with American culture.
Interview: Interview a foreign exchange student at Southwest. Focus questions on daily life in the foreign cultures. Include your questions on the project proposal form.
Poster Art: Compare and contrast two seemingly different societies and their cultures. Categorize them based on the many cultural components. Be sure to cite your sources.
Essay: Write an essay based on the case study on page 59 in the textbook, using the format on pages 62-63.
Art: Create an original piece of art that represents American values in a positive or negative light.
Poster Art: Construct a collage with pictures that represent the major American values identified in the text.
Political Cartoon: Create a cartoon that illustrates recent changes in American values.
Report: What is mass culture and how does it come about? How do media and other institutions
encourage societies to conform - to listen to the same music, believe the same things, eat
the same food, etc.? Is this a good, bad, or neutral feature of society, and do you believe
that it will become more or less common in the future? Consider a content analysis of the
media to support your opinions.
Movie Review: "Bowling for Columbine" by Michael Moore. Essay topic: Why is American society so
violent? Note: This film is Rated "R" for some violent images and language - students
under the age of 17 are expected to watch the film with their parents.
Group Presentation: Write and perform a short skit that illustrates common examples of role strain and role conflict.
Art: Create an original piece of artwork that illustrates the various social groups within Southwest High School.
Report: What sociological impact does the Green Bay Packers have on our community? How might the football team's fanatic following help or hurt human interaction in Green Bay? Also note that there is a minority of people who could care less about the Packers or are very critical of them - be sure to investigate their side of the story. Surveys and interviews here would be helpful.
Poster Art: Construct a poster that reflects each of the types of societies - hunting/gathering, pastoral, etc.
Political Cartoon: Create a cartoon that makes a social commentary about post-industrial society.
Poster Art: Collect a number of pictures that illustrate achieved and ascribed status to create a photo essay showing how the two statuses are very different.
Report: Research a group such as the military or a religious group and discuss how this group separates itself from other groups as a total institution.
Group Presentation: Prepare for a debate on the following question - Is a person's development more a result of his/her environment or are personality traits mostly inherited?
Report: What are the various social aspects of aging in America? Consider focusing your research on one or more of the following subtopics: age inequality, ageism, gerontology, Alzheimer's Disease. Also consider interviewing elderly relatives or community members or conducting surveys or correlation studies to gather and analyze data.
Autobiography: Write a 5-page history of your life. Focus especially on identifying aspects of your personality that you believe are genetic (inherited) versus traits that you believe are due to your experiences.
Report: Research children who have been brought up in severely isolated situations. Summarize their stories as well as the end results.
Multimedia Pres.: Tape an episode of "Leave It To Beaver" and one episode of "The Simpsons". Report to the class the role that these shows may have had on the socialization of both boys and girls. Discuss how the shows are both similar and different in this way. Include excerpts from these shows to illustrate your point.
Research and Report: Observe mothers and fathers with their small children (minimum of three observations for each). Note your observations and write a conclusion about the effect that parents have on the sex roles that their children internalize.
Book Review: Find a book about any common issue/problem of adolescence.
Art: Create a piece of original art that represents a common adolescent issue/problem.
Report: Research and report on a current issue/problem among teens.
Poster Art: Create a poster project that uses both text and pictures to illustrate common struggles of teens in modern society.
Cartoon: Create a cartoon about social problems facing teens.
Creative Writing: Write an essay that describes what the teenage years will be like for your child.
Book Review: Find a book that has the family as a primary topic.
Poster Art: Research and create a poster of your family tree.
Report: Research and write a report on the history of your family.
Book Review: A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer.
Art: Create an original piece of art that represents the changes that have taken place in the American family over the past 30 years.
Group Presentation: Write and present a short skit about the changes that have taken place in family structure from the pre-industrialization era to the present.
Multimedia: Use several new and old sitcoms to report on the changes in the American family over the last 30 years. Put together a tape of excerpts from these sitcoms to present to class.
Report: Research and write a report on the consequences of child abuse.
Book Review: The Great Santini by Pat Conroy. Book review and discuss the impact that an abusive parent can have on children.
Political Cartoon: Create a political cartoon that makes a good or bad point about the modern U.S. family.
Education and Religion
Report: Research and report on the perception that American public schools are failing to properly educate America's children.
Poster Art: Create a poster that demonstrates the growing diversity in American public schools. Include demographic information.
Book Review: Face the Dragon by Joyce Sweeny.
Political Cartoon: Using the conflict perspective, create a cartoon that looks at the purpose of schools in critical fashion.
Art: Create an original piece of art that evokes strong emotions regarding school. The emotions may be positive or negative.
Book Review: Ryan White, My Own Story by Ryan White (AIDS).
Research: Survey Southwest High School students about attitudes toward schools and education.
Book Review: Beyond the Classroom: Why Reform Has Failed and What Parents Need to Do by Laurence Steinberg.
Research & Present: Research and report on the opportunities at Southwest High School for students who are considered "at-risk".
Report: Write a report on violence in American schools.
Research: Using Southwest High School students, develop a study that examines the religious affiliations of students and their attitudes regarding religion.
Art: Create an original piece of art that symbolizes your religious beliefs.
Book Review: Left Behind (the second coming of Christ).
Book Review: God's Radar by Fran Arrick.
Poster Art: Create a poster that illustrates the variety of religions in the U.S. Include demographics.
Book Review: Religion and Politics: Issues in Religious Liberty by Gary McCuen.
Political Cartoon: Draw a cartoon that analyzes religion as a powerful agent of social control.
Deviance and Social Control
Interview: Arrange an interview with an inmate at Sanger Powers Correctional Facility in Oneida. Include your questions on the project proposal form.
Persuasive Paper: Write a 3- to 4-page paper that states your theory regarding why criminal behavior exists. Incorporate information regarding cultural transmission, structural-strain theory, control, conflict, and labeling theory.
Report: Research and report crime rates locally, statewide, and nationally. Discuss possible reasons for trends and differences in the various statistics.
Art: Create an art piece demonstrating your beliefs regarding causes of criminal behavior.
Book Review: Violence on American Streets: Headliner Series by Gene Brown.
Book Review: The Police in American Society by Edward Dolan.
Book Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
Report: Research and discuss gang activity in Green Bay, in Wisconsin, and in the U.S.
Poster Art: Create a poster showing the causes of crime.
Report: Examine whether prisons should rehabilitate, punish, or safeguard society.
Art: Create an original art piece that demonstrates the hopelessness of our prison system.
Social Stratification, Economic Injustice, and Poverty
Book Review: Rachel by Jonathon Kozol.
Book Review: Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol.
Book Review: Come the Morning by Mark Jonathan Harris.
Presentation: Make a short presentation on current injustices in our world's economy. Include a "musical collage" that illustrates these injustices.
Political Cartoon: Create a cartoon that makes a social comment on current economic injustices in the U.S. or in the world.
Essay: How should aid be given to the poor in America, by the government or by charitable organizations? Consider the pros and cons of each system. How about calling or writing to someone from the United Way and a lawmaker to help you form your own opinion?
Book Review: 1000 Pieces of Gold by Ruthann Lum McCunn.
Art: Create a piece of artwork that demonstrates economic injustices in the U.S. or the world.
Poster Art: Create a poster that demonstrates the poverty of Africa. Include some written information about the subject on the poster.
Book Review: World Hunger and Social Justice by Gary McCuen.
Racial and Ethnic Relations
Book Review: Native Son by Richard Wright.
Poster Art: Construct a poster representing the racial and ethnic differences in Green Bay. Include demographic information that reports changes in groups within our city.
Interview: Interview someone of a different race or ethnicity. Focus your questions on acceptance within the community. Include your questions on the project proposal form.
Report: Report on the history of one particular race or ethnic group that is considered to be a minority. Explain the reasons they came to the U.S., cultural characteristics, demographic information, and the current situation.
Report: Write a report that focuses on hate groups within the U.S.
Political Cartoon: Draw a cartoon that demonstrates prejudices in our community.
Research: Survey students' attitudes toward ethnic and racial minorities at Southwest High School. Follow the scientific method and report your findings to the class.
Book Review: Find a book that chronicles the history and experiences of a racial or ethnic minority group within the U.S.
Report: Are the educational experiences of girls and boys different? Do they learn differently? Are they interested in different subjects and careers? If differences are identified, are they caused by biological or sociological influences? Do teachers treat boys and girls differently at school? Consider surveying students and teachers.