Sometimes the best way to discourage plagiarism among your students is to come up with an assignment that forces them to take information and present it in a whole new way.
In this project, developed by a team of top educators at the Discovery National Institute, students compare and contrast three similar, but different people, places or things. The three things appear as bachelors on a dating show. The bachelorette asks questions of the bachelors and they must answer in character using the information they compiled while researching their person, place or thing.
It will work with just about anything. Imagine a lovely young lady asking questions of Columbus, Magellan, and Cortez. Or what about Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon? With a little creativity you could even give personality to inanimate objects - like rocks.
Here’s a fun example of what such a project might look like for a science class. In it we compare the properties of metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks.
At the end of the project students need to fill in a graphic organizer. This one is just a basic Inspiration template that has been modified slightly.
Graphic Organizer Link (Requires Inspiration Software)
Finally, students are asked to synthesize what they have learned using the writing prompt. Their task is to write a letter to the lovely bachelorette encouraging her to choose one of three rocks, using their research to support their choice.
Writing Prompt Link
Who are these ‘top educators’ you speak of?
What did you do on your summer vacation? Well, if anyone asks I'll say I got to go on a cruise with 50 of the most amazing and talented educators this country has to offer. This National Institute was sponsored by the Discovery Channel. I can honestly say I’ve never worked so hard and had so much fun at the same time. For more info about the DNI Bahamas Cruise, check out Joe Brennan’s blog.
This Dating Game project was a collaborative effort that combined the creative talents of five teachers from four different states. (We’re all listed in the end credits of the video.)