Last year in our AP History classes (3 classes with 48 kids) we decided to try a project after the AP exam. The juniors still have 3 weeks of class and the pressure of the AP is gone. The basic project was to research their topic and then as a group to prepare an electronic museum exhibit The exhibit would also need a one page abstract with an image to be placed in the museum booklet.Parents, younger students and school administrators would be invited. In preparation students were told to visit two area museums.Students were told that they would be given one table in our presentation room for their museum contribution and groups would be given one computer. They could add more things but that was what we would provide. (we are not a 1:1 school so we had to provide a laptop per group.)
Students selected a topic that they wanted to learn more about. Topics included, Harlem Renaisance,Protest thru songs, Nuclear Weapons, Battle of Shiloh, and Evolution of the Right to Privacy.
After students selected topics, we put them in groups of 3-4 bases on a unifying theme. The themes included Civil War, 20th Century Culture, First Ladies. The student groups were formed without regard to teacher or class section and we decided to use an installation of media wiki to facilitate collaboration. Groups made use of both the article and the discussion tab to communicate.
As their research took form, they started to work out conncections between their topics and began deciding on their presentation. We ended up with iMovies, podcasts of musics with images, a TK3 book on Langston Hughes, and webpages. Students decorated their tables. The most impressive part really wasn't the exhibit itself but the way the students answered questions about their topic as visitors walked through the exhibit. You knew they had learned tons. (brings up the whole question of assessment when the process is where the learning is taking place and the product, albeit impressive, really doesn't fully express the depth of the learning.)
Since it went so well, the project expanded this year and includes every junior US History student not just the AP students.
can still be seen but it is just the backdrop for the museum.