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Examining Viewpoints: WW II Research: Directions

A Project Overview

War II changed the United States and the world. This project gives you, individually or with a partner in your class section, the chance to study a topic from the war and share your findings with others. For this project you will learn a great deal about an important topic from the war and then teach other students about it.

STEP 1: Select a Topic

Choose a topic from an area of the war that interests you. This might include the homefront, military or political leaders, the economy, battles, the contributions of a particular group -- your choices are almost limitless. Since this class is about American history, focus on the U.S. and its role in the war. You may NOT research the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, or the internment of Japanese-Americans since we will study those topics as a class. Since you will present your research in class, each student or pair in a class must have a different topic. Topics must be approved by your teacher so, while you may change your topic, you must check with your teacher first.

Choose your partner carefully from among the members of your class. Be sure you can meet outside of class time to work on the project and that your partner is responsible. All topics may not be suitable for partner projects, so be certain to select your topic and get it approved as soon as possible.

Step 2: Research Your Topic

  1. Use your IMC or computer lab time wisely. Find several sources and begin to read and take notes from those that seem most valuable. It will be necessary to spend time outside of class on your research. 
  2. Take good notes. After you choose a topic, read and learn more about it. As you take notes, fill out either a BIBLIOGRAPHY CARD or a BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE in your notebook, a word document, or noodlebib. Make sure you keep a record of each of your sources - you must know what information came from which source. The project includes a bibliography, a list of the sources that you used and annotation about each source. 
  3. Work with a thesis. As you begin to understand your topic, develop a THESIS, or main idea for your presentation. Your thesis should be a powerful statement that is the basis for your presentation. For example, "The dropping of atomic bombs not only devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also resulted in the surrender of Japan.” Once you develop a thesis, you can build your work around it. Keep in mind that you may need to change your thesis as you continue your research. 
  4. Organize using an outline. Examples of an outline will be provided to you. Outlines help you organize the information so your presentation is effective and students really can learn from your research. 

Step 3: Create a Visual Graphic

Create a power point, other computer visual, or a poster or series of posters to use during your presentation. Your teacher will show you examples of past projects and the rubric is the last page of this handout. The visual should be attractively presented, large enough to see clearly from the back of the room, and should help the audience better understand your topic. If you choose to do a computerized presentation, it is your responsibility to make sure it is compatible with the school’s computers. If you are unable to present on time due to compatibility, email, or other computer issues, your work will be graded as late. PLEASE check on computer issues at school BEFORE the due date! Your visual teaching resource must be submitted, and you must be prepared to present, on the date the project is due. Email computer visuals to your teacher and turn posters in during class with your name and class hour written on the back. --------- You must cite the sources of your information, including visuals, on your poster or power point. 

Step 4: Make an Annotated Bibliography

Find at least four valuable sources (six for partner projects) on your topic, including books, articles, videos, and websites. A good source will provide different perspectives on your topic, which means each source is not telling you the same information over and over again. Not every source that you find will be useful, so your bibliography should include only those sources that you actually use – which will be more than the minimum number of sources in many cases. Your bibliography should include at least one contemporary source, meaning that it was produced during the period of the war. The librarian or your teacher can assist you with this. Type your annotated bibliography using the proper form. Your bibliography must include a variety of sources and encyclopedias, almanacs or Wikipedia will count as only one of your four or six sources. While you may use your textbook, it does not count toward your four or six minimum sources. Your annotation should clearly state what information this source provided. 

Your bibliography must include at least six valuable sources. In the event your partner is absent when you are asked to present, you may be required to present on your own. Presentation notes and artifacts are individual grades, not part of the partner project 

Step 5: Prepare a Presentation

Using your visual and focusing on the thesis you created, present your topic to the class in a well- organized and interesting manner. Presentations must be no less than 5 minutes and no more than 8. There will be a deduction for presentations that do not meet the time requirements. Your information should clearly explain the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your topic. You may use note cards or an outline during your presentation, but you must talk to the class rather than read to the class. The notes used during your presentation must be turned in to your teacher presentation.  

Partner presentations must be 7-12 minutes and both partners must present equally. Presentation notes and artifacts are individual grades, not part of the partner project 

Step 6: Take Presentation Notes

You will be required to take notes during each of your classmate’s presentations. One sheet will be given to you for this purpose and you will use your own paper once that sheet has been completed. All of your notes will be stapled together and turned in at the conclusion of presentations in your class. Your notes will be an Effort grade. 

Extra Credit: Bring an Artifact

You may earn extra credit if you bring in and share an ARTIFACT from World War II (An artifact is an object made by human beings that tells something about the past.) During World War II countless artifacts associated with the war were created and many of them still exist in drawers, attics, scrapbooks, basements, and displays. Your artifact may NOT be a weapon and must relate directly to World War II—not just be from that time period. When you bring the artifact, be prepared to describe its purpose and how this was important to the war.

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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