In 2010 my social studies teaching partner, Lisa Healow, and I created a research project for our 9th graders in honors and regular world history and English. The research was to answer the question, “What happens when cultures spread?”
Students were assigned a topic and a question relating to that topic with a small group of classmates. Their task was to find 2 articles about the specific aspect of of their assigned topic (religion, geography, economy/trade, humanities/art, government, society, or science/technology) and create a summary using a specific form.
From there, students worked with group members to develop an answer to the topic question, as well as another question to expand on the topic. They peer edited the summaries to they were submitted to the class database. Students read and took notes on all of the database entries (submitted through a Google Docs form), making connections and asking recognizing patterns, in preparation for a class seminar.
Lisa and I presented our project, along with student work samples, snippets of the final seminar, and interviews with students about the process, at the 2011 Alaska Society of Technology in Education conference.
Our presentation document, with links to additional material, is available through this link.