The following Projects are an assortment of long-term activities that can be completed individually, in groups or as a class. We have provided starting points for research and development; you and the students can work together to create a more detailed plan of action. Consider the following two recommendations. First, because of the amount of work involved in a Project, students should choose one of great interest to them. Second, to encourage excellence and promote student-student learning, students should present their finished projects to the rest of the class, to the school and to the community, if appropriate.
Project 1: Research Questions and Action Projects
Project 1 differs from the others: it is a list of possible research topics organized according to some key ideas and addressed to students.
In assigning a Research Question or Action Project, we ask that you allow students to choose their topic either one provided or one of their own. You might also:
- Specify length of piece.
- Make clear the purpose and the audience.
- Suggest sources and ideas for information.
- Provide in-class time for compiling information and writing.
- Require students to exchange papers and provide written feedback.
- Provide a breakdown of due dates for the following stages: choice of topic, outline, rough draft and final draft.
- Permit students to supplement a written report with a skit, a piece of artwork, a piece of music, a dance, a video, or a multimedia presentation.
Provide the students with evaluation criteria that include:
- accuracy of the content based on guiding questions.
- clarity of writing.
- effective organization of main ideas.
- use of detailed examples or citing evidence to support their conclusions.
Project 1: Research Questions
The following projects are an assortment of long-term activities focused on research and action. You may want to assign them as research topics for individuals or group research projects. Encourage students to present their research products as a culmination of their work to their classmates.
What Was Happening the Day You Were Born? What were the important headlines during the year you were born? On the day you were born? Look locally, nationally, internationally. What were your parents doing? Have them tell a story of one day, that year in their life.
Aerobic Benefits of Sports Research aerobic benefits of sports, and put together a training program for adolescents, taking into account their changing bodies and capacities and health needs.
Topics in Adolescent Health Adolescent health issues offer excellent research possibilities. For example: “Current Treatments for Acne,” “Pediatric Medicine, ” “Strength and Endurance Training.” Project is appropriate for group or individual work.
Culture, Hairstyles, and Body Hair What variations in hairstyles and body hair do you find in other cultures (does everyone grow facial hair)? What variations do you see in this country over time?
Fact from Fiction How do you distinguish fact from fiction in cosmetic/ hair-care/acne advertisements? Look at magazines for ads and critique them for accuracy. You may want to ask the school nurse for information. What is really good for you?
A Parent's Experience Students comfortable with the idea can discuss the changes of puberty with their parents to find out what their experiences were like. Write findings in journal, or collect anonymous anecdotes from the class.
Nutrition and Health: A Historical Perspective Look at changes in nutrition recommendations over the last hundred years compare with adolescent health problems. Is there a correlation?
Girls in Sports: A Historical Perspective Research the attitudes towards and involvement of girls in sports in the last century. Compare the rate of change in world records of men and women in last century. Plot graphs over time and draw conclusions.
Human Growth Hormone What is human growth hormone? What does it do, what are its medicinal uses? Look at hormones used in animals to increase meat or milk production. Are there health implications for humans who eat animals and animal products treated with growth hormone? Do you think growth hormones are ethical? Look at costs and benefits.
Hormones : A Historical Perspective The modern science of endocrinology is quite young. The term hormone comes from the Greek word “to excite” and was first used around the turn of this century. Research the history of hormones and what they are, and make a general chart of the body and the common hormones at work. How many do we now know of? How do they work? You could divide the class into groups, each studying one or two hormones. Act out the functions of these hormones for the class.
Hormones in Medical Research What are biotech companies doing in hormone research?
Science Careers Explore careers involving science.
Reproductive Cycles of Other Species Research how mammals and humans differ in their reproductive cycles.
Nutrition and Menstruation How does nutrition impact the experience of menstruation? That does menstruation take from your body, and how can you best replace those vitamins or minerals? What foods are rich in iron? Does the body use vitamin and mineral supplements the same way it uses them from natural foods?
How Important Is Our Appearance: An Economic Perspective What percent of our national economy do corporations spend on trying to sell you a body image through products involving exercise, eating, dieting, and health. In turn, what do we as consumers spend per year per person, on average, on these products? The reference section of your library should have books with these statistics.
The Role of the Media in Defining Beauty Explore how the media promotes beauty in various cultures, or in this culture over time. Look at TV and movie stars, magazines, books, beauty guides, etc. Do most people look that ideal? If not, is it fair?
Personals Section: What Do People Really Want in a Mate? Bring in the Personals section of the paper-note that people describe their appearance, not their behavior. Is this a solid way to look for a relationship? Write you own Personals ad describing the type of person you are interested in meeting, not the way the person looks.
Project 2: Teacher Activity Notes - Multicultural Perspective: Issues of Puberty and Adolescence
Summary The changes of puberty are universal, but the experience of adolescence varies from culture to culture. In this Project students choose a culture and research the ways in which attitudes and behaviors toward this time of life vary from ours. Suggested cultures to study include: Israeli kibbutz, Iran, India, China and/ or Japan, an African nation, Mexico, or students could choose a culture from their heritage.
Estimated Time 3-5 weeks depending on length of time you have available to spend on the unit
Access to library and Internet if possible for research
- a portfolio of research on multicultural differences regarding issues of puberty and adolescence.
- a display board showcasing what they have found.
- a presentation to the class to share their observations.
Step 1 Ask students to choose a country to research. They may work alone, in pairs, or in small groups at your discretion.
Step 2 Have each group keep a portfolio of the information they gather to save and share at the end. Designate bulletin board space for students to display their work as the unit progresses.
Step 3 As background, have students locate their country on a map and research some basic facts, such as population, size of country, type of economy (what kind of work most people do), and any interesting historical or current facts.
Step 4 Assign the specific research questions listed below as you come to the sections in this unit that cover the topic.
Step 5 At the end of the unit ask students to share what they have discovered with other members of the class by doing any or all of the following: create a display on the bulletin board, make an oral presentation, create a comparison chart, submit a written report.
View of Adolescents How do adults view adolescents in your culture? Are they given a lot of adult responsibility? What degree of independence do they have? Do they choose their own activities? Jobs? What is their education like? How do they spend their after-school hours? Are there any rites of passage (physical or symbolic ceremonies) that adolescents are expected to go through?
Adolescent Health Issues: A Global View Study adolescent health issues in other countries, such as growth rates, chronic disease, and acne (Is it universal?). What environmental, cultural, and economic factors contribute to the differences?
Gender Differences Research gender differences in cultures around the world. Make a chart of gender issues in this country and compare with the countries researched. Some suggested topics to compare: how boys and girls are viewed- differences in opportunities, differences in expectations, differences in behavior, differences in activity choices, differences in jobs, salaries, positions of leadership; who manages the home; who takes primary care of children in the family; dress and social behavior (gender roles).
Adaptation Problems Do teens in your country have problems with eating disorders and drug use? Research some of the adaptation problems teens have in the culture you are studying.
Beauty What seems to be the standard of beauty in your country? What do teenage girls wear? Boys?