Kids certainly love vacations, and many of them have not had the opportunity to travel very far from home. As a result, they really get into the following two projects.
One of the projects I do with my students requires them to plan a vacation while staying within a particular budget. They use the research skills they’ve been learning to seek out a destination, plan travel arrangements, find a hotel, entertainment, places to eat, and so on, while staying within a budget. They keep track of their vacation, websites, and money in an Excel spreadsheet, then create a simple PowerPoint to share with the class about their dream vacation. The kids love it!! Recently, I've been thinking about updating this assignment to allow students to use an online tool such as Animoto or Vuvox as an alternative to PowerPoint. If you've never looked at these tools, you definitely should! You could also use Glogster with this type of project, which is another online tool that the kids absolutely love.
Along the same lines, I’ve also had my students create a “travel brochure” using Microsoft Publisher. For this project, they’re required to choose a city in another country (it’s amazing how many of them think Hawaii or even New York are cities in another country!) They then research their chosen city to create a travel brochure that includes background information on the city, as well as other information such as attractions, currency, weather, etc. Again, they use their newly acquired research skills in combination with Publisher to create their final products. This is another project that they take great pride in, and if your school has writing goals that need to be incorporated into all classes like ours does, this is a great way to fit that in!
If you’d like to see instructions, rubrics and other materials for this project, check out my Yahoo group.