Independent Enrichment Work

Even the biggest nerds don't go to school forever. At some point everybody will leave school and head out into the real world. When that happens, we don't just stop learning. Humans need to be nourished intellectually their whole lives. So when we leave school it is important that we are life-long, independent learners. That means we should try to always be learning something new, and we should be able to do it by ourselves. Doing a little independent enrichment now can help you practice to be an independent learner later on. It might also be fun.

The following assignments may be completed by any student at any time. Additional credit will be given for enrichment work as long as the following criteria are met:

  • The finished product demonstrates your best effort and thought. A hastily thrown together project will do you no good.
  • You must actually follow the assignment. That means that if the assignment asks for, say, a paper at least three pages long, then you turn in a paper at least three pages long.
  • Even though you must follow the assignment's guidelines, you are not limited to just the minimum requirements. Let your creativity, imagination, and curiosity guide you. If you have a project you would like to complete, but you do not see it here, just ask me to see if it will count as enrichment work for your class.
  • You must already be doing your best on our regular class work. Doing enrichment work to try to save your grade after an entire quarter of being lazy won't work. And yes, I can tell if you've really been doing your best or not.
  • Enrichment work must be turned in at least two weeks prior to the end of the quarter to be counted for that quarter, unless I tell you differently. Otherwise, it will count for the following quarter.
  • You may not harm any animals or younger siblings at any time while completing an enrichment assignment.

Enrichment Work for History and Geography Students

  • Pick any event in U.S. History that occurred between 1492 and 1877 and think of a question you would like to answer about that event. Use appropriate resources and your research skills to find the answer to your question. Write a 2-5 page paper explaining your question and answer. Be sure to Be sure to include necessary background information for your reader and as well as a properly formatted bibliography.

    Some ideas to get you started:

    • Why was President Lincoln assassinated?
    • Why did Gen. Robert E. Lee choose to command the confederate army?
    • Did George Washington really have wooden teeth?
    • Why did the South rely on slavery for its economic success?
    • What was Christopher Columbus really after when he set sail across the Atlantic?
    • What kinds of games did colonial children play?
    • What was the architecture like in American cities in the early 1800's?
    • Who were the most important American writers or artists in the 1800's?
    • What was life like for children growing up in cities during the Revolution?
  • Create a web site explaining the life and accomplishments of a famous, or not so famous, American. Use pictures and your imagination to engage visitors to your site. Be sure your site has a bibliography. You may publish the web site yourself, or turn it in on floppy disk or CD Rom.
  • Create a set of posters advertising the English colonies. Your posters should be aimed at attracting settlers from England. Be sure to include historically accurate reasons that would attract people of the sixteen and 1700's. Use real examples of advertisements as your inspiration, but feel free to be creative and have fun. As always, turn in a properly formatted bibliography with your posters.
  • Choose one challenge facing the world today, research it, and write a short paper 2-5 page paper explaining the problem and some possible solutions. Global challenges you might choose from include sources of energy (fossil fuels vs. alternative energy sources), deforestation, air or water pollution, under developed nations, rapid population growth/urbanization, or global warming to name a few. Feel free to choose other topics, and to include graphics or photographs in your paper. As always, turn in a properly formatted bibliography.
  • Create a diorama depicting some aspect of culture from the country or region of your choice. Label the diorama or include a description of what your scene depicts and include a written explanation of the cultural trait you have chosen to highlight.
  • Choose a current controversial issue that is challenging the people of our country such as gun control, immigration law, or separation of church and state. Use current newspaper articles, magazine articles, or books to research both sides of the issue, and what is at stake. Create two or more political posters, each one representing a different side of your issue. For example, you might research the pros and cons of gun control in the United States, and then create two posters. One poster might support reasons for gun control laws and one might defend the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms. Please check with me or your parents before beginning research on a particular topic.
  • Choose a country and research it. Write a 2- 5 page paper or create a web site showing what you have learned about your country. You might try organizing your country according to the Five Themes of Geography. Of course, include a bibliography with your paper or web site. For a different twist, choose one aspect of your country's culture and research and write about that. You could choose to research the language or religions of your country. You might learn about traditional dress or styles of cooking. Pick something that interests you.

  • Read a current book on either a topic in U.S History or on a current world topic. The book should be appropriate for you reading level, or even a little challenging. Write a 2-3 page book report that summarizes the book and why you chose to read it.

These are just some ideas to get you started. This list is by no means complete. If you come up with an idea for an enrichment project, please come see me and we will discuss it. Happy learning!