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Research Paper Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Marquis Grant
This lesson will highlight research paper activities and projects for middle school students in all courses and grade levels. A short quiz will follow to test your knowledge.

Research Paper Activities and Projects for Middle School

Middle grade students can become involved in several projects based on the themes and units you, as the teacher, are covering in any class at any grade level. Below are some examples of various subject-specific research paper activities that your students can complete for each subject area.

Language Arts

When teaching a unit on poetry, instructional time will likely be spent talking about the different elements of poetry, such as the use of metaphors, similes and other literary terms. In addition, you will likely cover haiku, sonnets, ballads and other poetry types. To reinforce this lesson, you can have your students create their own original poem, or they can bring in a poem, including a rap or song. You can then have them all write a paper that would include analysis of the poem, rap or song's meaning and use of literary devices, such as hyperbole, onomatopoeia, allusion, etc. Additionally, they can include details about the overall tone (how the author feels), mood (how the author makes the reader feel) and theme (lesson) of the work.

It may also be a good idea for students to research the author of their selections and include this information in their papers. Including the author's information may shed additional light on why the author chose to write the selection in the first place. For example, Emily Dickinson experienced the deaths of several close family members. When writing a research paper on one of her poems, these tragic events may help explain the often dark mood and tone Dickinson portrayed in her writing.

Students will also become more familiar with novels during middle school as part of most standards-based curricula. You might have them write a paper analyzing a novel's setting and background, which could help them better understand different events taking place throughout a story. They would need to research the period in which the novel takes place in order to provide important details about setting.

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