Shifts Happen

For my blended learning US History class, students are doing a final project, instead of writing a final exam. You can see the rough outline of the project below.

My original idea for #2 was to have students “adopt” a Wikipedia article and make revisions/edits, but I’m not sure there’s going to be one that needs significant work available for all the different topic areas.

Thoughts? Other ideas for ways to students to contribute to ongoing collaborative scholarly efforts?

Final Project

Choose an area of focus and trace shifts in that area throughout the course of American history

Some suggestions:
Race relations/Civil Rights
Role of women/men in society
Role of athletes/athletics
The arts in public life (music, visual arts, dance, film)
Healthcare/medical treatment
Role and rights of children
Freedom of speech/press
Religion in public life

(Topics might needed to be further narrowed after choosing)

1. Create a timeline with important events in your area of focus
2. ?????Collaborative contribution ?????
3. Analyze an article appearing in the newspaper in the last year related to the shift you’re studying
4. Interview an expert (someone who experienced the shift or someone who studies it)
5. Write a paper chronicling the history of the shift and predicting where you think the shift is headed next. (incorporate interview & current events article
6. Lead a lesson for the class about the shift. Assign reading/prep work to go along with the lesson


6 thoughts on “Shifts Happen

  1. Meredith,

    I love where you’re going with this. I’ve had great luck getting my US History students to create their own wikis. I think you’re right, there may not be much to do on Wikipedia, and perhaps a better creative use of their time would be to build their own wikis from topics they decide on or you give them. Here’s an example, from my AP US History students in ’08-’09:


  2. I’m not sure how conservative your school is but gay rights/sexual identity or labor relations might be good topics to add. Also pop culture/advertisements and slang are always fun. Finally, I have been interested in the changing idea of “frontier” in American history (often gentrifiers are called “urban pioneers” today).

    I particularly like the way this would lead into a discussion about “progress.” Is American history a story of progress?

    I guess I added more topics when you were considering narrowing them. Sorry about that.

    I love the components. I’ve had some success with interviewing experts for history fair projects and found that it really gets students excited about their knowledge of the topic.

  3. Wow, as I sat here reading through some of the ideas, I was ready to get started on one myself. I love the ideas. And I love how there is something for anyone. It really can be adapted for any one person’s interests. I’d love to pass on the idea to some of our teachers with credit to you, of course.

  4. @Mike Great wiki! I’m hoping to plug students into an endeavor that is already ongoing, rather than creating something free-standing. I worry about students publishing this kind of work, but then in languishing in cyberspace after that.

    @Pam Thanks for that site. I hadn’t seen it before.

    @Molly Thanks for the suggestions of additional topics. I’ll also let students suggest their own topics if they’d like.

    @Becca Thanks! Feel free to pass the post/idea along!

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