Saturday, December 05, 2009

Research Paper--Special Option

The next unit we will be working on in 6th grade composition is the research paper. Since over half the class wrote a traditional research paper in co-op last year, I wanted to provide a slightly different option for the research paper unit this year. I tried to make it perfectly clear to the class that they were more than welcome to write a standard research paper if they were more comfortable with that. OR, they could take what was behind door number two, and participate in a special assignment.

Here are the basic instructions for this optional alternative to the basic reseach paper.

Imagine if there were a national family magizine hosting a contest open to junior high students. Imagine if the grand prize of the contest was an all expense paid family vacation of your design and choosing plus the opportunity to have your family vacation chronicled and then featured as a major cover story for the magazine. To enter this contest, the stundent must research, plan, and budget a family vacation and submit a written proposal of the vacation's iternerary and budget.

Here is what each student should do, (if they choose to participate in this option):

Research, plan, and budget a family vacation using the following guidelines--

1. The vacation should have a unique theme or approach, something that sets their proposed vacation apart from other entries in the contest. The theme could be historical, educational, scientific, "all-American," or it could pertain to the family's unique past and history (such as tracing the path and places great-great-grandparents lived when first arriving in America.)

2. The vacation may take place anywhere in the 50 U.S. states (including Washington D.C.). Multiple sites may be visited, or the vacation can center around one locale.

3. The vacation must stay within a budget of $2000 per family member. This budget should include all costs of the trip such as lodging; transportation (including gas money roughly calculated by mileage, cost of rental cars if applicable, plane or train tickets if applicable); food (for every meal and snacks for every person); and any additional fees such as admission to museums or parks, or any special supplies or equipment needed to be rented or purchased, such as camping gear, scrapbooks, cameras, etc, if the family does not already possess the specific items needed.

4. The vacation may be as long or as short as desired, provided that the vacation stays within the budget allowed.

5. The student may research destinations, restaurants, costs, etc on the internet and may receive help from a parent or other older person in determining reasonable cost estimates for food and gas. The student may also write to tourism and travel bureaus and request brochures or pamphlets to help them plan the vacation.

Due Dates:

Dec 10 --Have topic for traditional paper chosen, or have vacation theme and some destinations in mind. (Or at least have topic or vacation narrowed down to one or two possibilites). In class we will be learning about finding infomation, bibliography cards, and note taking (Unit 5: lssns 3-5).

Note, if your student chooses to write a traditional paper, lesson 2 should be completed at home.

During Christmas Break--Be doing research on topic or on vacation. Complete all notecards and bibliography cards.

Jan 14 -- Notecards due!!! Bring completed notecards back to co-op. The bulk of reasearch should now be complete! In class we will be learning about making outlines (Unit 5: lssn 8-9).

Jan 21 -- Outilines due! (just one copy is needed) In class we will be covering Unit 5: lssns 10-12

Jan 28 -- Rough draft of introductory paragraph(s) are due. Just one copy is needed and can be shared aloud with the class. In class we will cover Unit 5: lssns 13-16.

Feb 4--Research Reports Due! Please bring 10 hole-punched copies of the final report to be shared with the class.

Format for the Vacation Proposal

If your student chooses to research and plan a vacation instead of completing a standard research paper, the final paper would look something like this:

Snappy Title of Vacation

The first few paragraphs of the vacation proposal will be introductory paragraphs. These paragraphs will include a hook to grab the readers attention, an brief description of where the student plans to go on vacation, and an explanation of why this vacation was chosen and what makes this vacation unique.

Day One

A brief description of day one, which should start with leaving the home. Include where the family will be stopping to eat, or a menu if a picnic lunch and dinner are packed for traveling. Under the description will be a list, with or without bullet points, for the costs of each stop during day one. Include any weblinks where applicable If the family is traveling in the family car, it might look like so:

  • Gas: $x for the day. Car gets n miles per gallon and we will be traveling y miles in the first day.
  • Lunch: $x total, with $z per family member at McDonald's or other fast food off  highway exit.
  • Snacks: $x total: Pillsbury cookies baked ahead of time and apple slices.
  • Dinner: $x total, with $z per family member at Mia Pizza Ria in City, State.
  • Lodging: $0 We are staying with Aunt Pat, who lives in City, State and visiting with our cousins since they are on our way to our final destination.

Day Two

Here will be a brief overview of the vacation day two. A description of any stops the family will be making and why those stops have been chosen should go in here. Again, a cost break down of the day and any relevant weblinks should be included. Like so

  • Breakfast: $0 We will be having breakfast at Aunt Pat's.
  • Gas: $x for the day. Car gets n miles per gallon and we will be traveling y miles in the second day.
  • Lunch: $ ....
  • State Park/National Monument/Museum/Zoo: $x total, with admission at $ per adult and $ per child.

  • Snacks: $ total for $ per person spent at Zoo

  • Dinner: $.....
  • Lodging $ for night stay at Named Hotel.

Day Etc

Follow the same format of a paragraph of description for each day and a cost breakdown for each day.

Back at Home (or whatever you wish to title your conclusion section)

In the concluding paragraph(s) of the proposal, the student should explain what he or she hopes to learn or gain from the experience. Also, think of and describe a way to record what you experienced. Finally, answer the question of why you think these experiences will make a life long impression, or difference, to you. Will a trip like this matter 10, 20, 30 or more years from now?

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I so hope Jonathan chooses the vacation option!