In this post, I am sharing my National Geographic assignment. This is especially useful in generating multi-disciplined assignments and projects. I use it for home school, but it could easily be adapted to history, anthropology, English, social studies, language arts, or related subjects–the reading level is higher, obviously, so if you are doing it with younger kids, enlist the help of parents or reading coaches. It also makes a pretty good extra credit assignment, if you do that.
The purpose is to get the student to read one of the articles and then engage in the content at a higher level. Whether the student reads further, creates fiction based on the article, or is artistically inspired, he or she is reworking the content of the article into his or her own project.
This is a great way to expose students to science, history, sociology, travel, and culture beyond their classrooms! Once they’ve tapped into the pictures and maps, the story becomes hard to resist. Each article is a kind of field trip (almost) and it should capture students’ imaginations and fuel their curiosity–for life.
(Additional tip for history use: Assign older Nat. Geo. magazines from a period you are studying–the old Life magazines work well, too–so, students could, for example, read about the Space Race as it was unfolding. Now, you’ve advanced it to a primary source project!)
National Geographic Assignment
Directions: Read the current issue of National Geographic Magazine and do one of the following activities using an article of your choice from that issue:
- Write a short story
- Make a board game
- Write a play
- Do a related experiment
- Further reading
- Write a short report
- Make a travel brochure
- Do an art project
- Invent a product or service
- Write a blog post
- Write a letter to the author or someone in the article
- Make an informative map or chart explaining an aspect of the article
- Create a storyboard for a short movie or documentary inspired by the article
- Draw one of the photographs from the article
- Write a speech
- Make a cartoon strip
- Write a song or poem
- Make a PowerPoint explaining the article or an aspect of the article
- Create a glossary or encyclopedia entries for the article
- Design a craft project inspired by the article
- Create a non-profit/fundraising service idea to address an issue raised in the article
- Prepare a meal inspired by the article
These projects also make good “show” projects when highlighting the class’s work or an individual student’s accomplishments. Stories, artwork, and other projects may be used for contests or projects beyond the school or home school.