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Introduction to Choosing a Topic by thejokerishere


									                             Ferris High School Culminating Project
                                Introduction to Choosing a Topic

You can develop almost any topic into an original culminating project with all of the components
required by Spokane School District. Your culminating project will need to be composed of the
4 Ps:
    Researched Paper
    Your end Product/Performance
    Portfolio (notebook) which holds the proposal letter, researched paper, learning log and
      signed Parent Acknowledgement Form
    Presentation to a panel

After choosing a topic in which you are very interested, you will write a plan that describes how
you will carry out your project. That plan will be written in the form of a proposal letter.

Before beginning a culminating project, you should give considerable thought to a topic. The
topic should be very interesting since you will be working with it for up to a year.

Here are some questions that can help identify your interests:
   What issues do you feel strongly about?

      What do you wish you had more time for?

      What things would you like to be able to do better?

      What unique or special talents do you possess?

      What is one condition that needs to be improved?

      What profession do you think you are interested in?

      What classes have you taken that you really liked?

Consider the following criteria when choosing a topic for a Culminating Project:
      Am I really interested in this subject? You will spend many months working with this topic. The
       Culminating Project is an individual effort that relies on personal initiative. Your topic must be one that
       seriously interests you and that you have an honest desire to fully investigate. It must have enough
       substance that lends itself to a research question which you will investigate and, eventually, answer.
      Can I get access to ample sources of information? You should have some ideas on possible sources of
       relevant information before you commit to a specific topic.
      Am I willing to present this topic to an unknown audience? You will be required to present your findings
       in public forum. Be careful not to select a topic that you would not be willing to discuss freely in that very
       open environment.
      Have I sufficiently limited the topic? A topic may be too broad to be covered completely in the 5-8 page
       researched paper required for this project.
      Does this project offer a challenge? Above all, a topic should be selected that offers you an opportunity
       to grow in depth of knowledge and understanding and provides a learning stretch. When you are done with
       your Culminating Project, you will be able to articulate what you have learned.
      Can I realistically complete this project? You shouldn’t tackle projects that can’t be completed here in
       Spokane or can’t be done by a person your age.
      Don’t take on a project that could threaten your safety. “Feet on the ground and head above water,” is
       a good rule to keep in mind.
      What kind of product or performance could be created from this topic? Spend time with others to
       brainstorm ideas.
      Will the topic be supported by parents/guardians? Your parents/guardians need to know what is going on
       so they can give you the support and encouragement you will need and sign the Parent/Guardian
       Acknowledgement Form prior to beginning the project.
      What type of expenses will be connected to this project? If there are costs, explain where monies will
       come from and what they are going toward in the project. If the costs exceed $10.00, you must obtain an
       additional parent signature by this step. Don’t anticipate funding your project solely on donations; develop
       alternatives in this step.

                                   Check List for Topic Selection
                                                                                                   Y 0r N
      The project is legal and doesn’t put student at risk of injury?                              ______
      The project is not a duplicate of previous work?                                             ______
      There is a potential for a minimum of 20 hours of work?                                      ______
      The project is challenging and complex?                                                      ______
      The project can be done without missing class time?                                          ______
      The project will have tangible evidence of completion?                                       ______
      Work and time can be documented?                                                             ______

Students are encouraged to use their imagination and design a project that will be personally

Note: Students already involved in groups (Eagle Scouts, etc) requiring a major project may be
able to adapt their project to meet the CP requirements as well. Students should discuss this
possibility with their English teacher or Susan Wolf during the proposal stage to make certain
all Culminating Project requirements would also be met.

                                    Culminating Project Examples
               These interests/topics have been developed into successful projects.

Paul’s grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease. He sees how difficult it is for his grandmother to
care for his grandfather. He writes his research paper on the stress that the disease places on
caregivers. He volunteers at an adult care facility that specializes in the care of Alzheimer’s
patients and produces a brochure on supporting Alzheimer caregivers.
After taking Creative Traditions at Ferris, Susan learned how to quilt, but she wants to go
beyond her present level of skill to produce a more complicated quilt. She writes her
researched paper on the history of quilting and sews the quilt for her product/performance.
When completed, she donates the quilt to a charity as an auction item for their fundraiser.

Diane wants to knit hats and sell them. She already knows how to knit, but she wants to learn
how to market them. She writes her researched paper on marketing and advertising a product,
and then markets her hats to local clothing stores.

Josh has seen puppies being sold from the back of trucks on north Division Street. He writes
his researched paper on the problem of animal abuse and volunteers at the local animal shelter.
He produces a brochure on the problems caused by puppy mills.

Lisa has a bad knee because of a sports injury. Lisa is very interested in the field of sports
medicine. She writes her paper on the treatment of athletic injuries and does a job shadow at a
physical therapy clinic. She does a presentation to her soccer team on the importance of
stretching, warm-up, and cool-down activities.

David is very interested in performing arts. He writes his researched paper on the
development/history of American musical theater. For his product/performance, he designs
the set for a high school production.

Lorrie was very interested in physical fitness. She decided that she would like to train for a
marathon. She wrote her researched paper on how to prepare for a marathon through diet and
exercise, including some successful marathon runners throughout history, and the use of the
proper equipment. Later she used the information to participate in a marathon herself.

Nancy wanted to pursue a career as a classroom teacher. She enrolled in the Teaching Academy
program at Ferris which paired her with a classroom teacher from an elementary school. Nancy
wrote her paper on learning styles and differentiated methods of instruction. She was later
able to use those methods to teach several lessons in a preschool classroom.

Karen was interested in becoming a dental hygienist. She worked in a dentist’s office part-time.
As a result of working in the dentist’s office, she became interested in the correlation between
good dental care and the health of children. She wrote her researched paper on the effect of
dental care on children’s health. As part of her project/performance she visited dental offices
and stores asking for dental supplies that were to be donated to children from low-income
families. Along with the dental supplies, she also collected information on free dental clinics.
Karen arranged to visit a public school in a low income area. She gave a presentation on the
importance of good dental hygiene and handed out the dental supplies (tooth paste, tooth
brushes and floss) and information.

Other possible topic choices: Since we are just beginning this process, these
examples are taken from other school districts that already have the culminating project
requirement in place. All of these projects were successfully completed.

*Create an art portfolio for art school, including   veterans of the Vietnam Conflict
an in-depth study of your favorite style:            * Investigate contemporary photographic styles
surrealism.                                          and techniques and create a portfolio of
* Translate a famous work from another language      original works in the “post-modern” tradition
into English for publication                         * Intern in a veterinary clinic and create a
* Rebuild a garage as part of a field experience     resource guide for cat owners on feline diseases
* Design and lead your own school-wide workshop      * Study gourmet cooking through research and
on the dangers of drinking and driving               field experience, learning about the design,
* Design and patent your own shoe                    preparation, and serving of traditional French
* Work at a local museum as an intern and create     cuisine
a fundraiser for the museum                          * Build your own car stereo system by studying
* Create an on-stage stand-up comedy routine for     the science of sound systems, their design and
a hearing impaired audience                          installation
* Tutor elementary children in reading and study     * Volunteer to work in a retirement home and
their progress                                       create an oral history collection of the lives
* Study with a community theatre group and           of those who live there
produce your own play                                * Research, develop, shoot, edit, and exhibit a
* Create and implement a health and fitness plan     video documenting the Islamic experience in
as preparation for a marathon and run it             Washington State, focusing on the nature and
* Calibrate a prototype for analytic chemistry       causes of anti-Muslim discrimination
equipment                                            * Study chaos theory through computer simulations
* Develop a robotics project and participate in a    and an internship or partnership with a university
national competition                                 physics program
* Coach a youth soccer team and complete a study     * Read the major works of Jane Austen and write
in youth and motivation                              a research paper on her influence on
* Create a book and website of original poetry to    English literature
publish on-line                                      * Design an experiment and enter a science fair
* Research why people commit hate crimes and         competition
create a resource guide for the community            * Design a landscape and irrigation plan for a local
* Develop a mock or real investment portfolio and    church or community group
investment plan by researching finance management    * Organize a seminar on eating disorders
* Create a computer encryption program.              * Produce a CD of original music
* Create an original music composition for an        * Design and implement a physical therapy program
ensemble and have it performed                       for a cerebral palsy patient
* Create a hands-on study of the art of              * Develop an emergency management plan
documentary filmmaking through the preparation,      * Design a new computer game
filming, and editing of a study of experiences of
                                    CAREER RELATED TOPICS:

              Science/Engineering                           Technology
   Design and create a model                            Web skin development
   of the Space Shuttle                                 Portfolio of computer graphics
   Enter a science competition                          Building a computer
   Landscape and irrigation plan for a business or      Designing a computer program to teach chess
    home                                                 Creating a network
               Health and Medicine                          Service Learning
   Organize a series of eating disorder seminars        Drunk Driving Assembly
   Cancer research/volunteering                         Producing a Youth Rally
   Exercise and nutrition for elementary school         Working with children at-risk
    children                                             Volunteering at the YMCA
   Physical therapy for a cerebral palsy patient        Volunteering at community service organization
   Athletic Injuries                                    Helping at Animal Shelter
   Adolescent Depression
                   Automotive                            Building a Model House
    Rebuild a motorcycle                                Building design architecture
    Stereo installation                                 Building a playhouse
    Creating an automobile review guide                 Building a house
    Rebuild a car                                       Exploring the construction field
                                                         Computer-aided drawing
   Trail Development                                       City Planning/Management
   Environmental reclamation project                    Developing an emergency management plan
                                                         Event coordinating
   Exploring careers in law                                Writing
   Job shadowing a judge                                Writing a story on AIDS and teenagers
                                                         Technical writing with clay art
                   Visual Arts                           Writing a collection of oral histories from local
    Photography Exhibition                               senior citizens
    Running a photography business                      Writing a novel
    Creating an Art Book                                Writing a collection of original poems and
    Making dinnerware-set of pottery                     getting it published
    Producing an art exhibition
                 Performing Arts                         Traveling to Egypt and creating an educational
   Writing, producing, and directing a play              video
   Producing a CD of original music                     Army recruiting presentation
   Video editing a senior film                          Clothing Design
   Hip Hop Dance Choreography                           TV Production
                                                         Exploring the career of firefighting
   Make and market spa products
   Building an investment portfolio
   Create an auto sales web site
   Hotel Management Internship

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