Weirdest/most interesting school assignment

In eighth grade, there was the Word Project. This was a massive, research-intensive Engish assignment, wherein we would learn an SAT word, find in various sources, poll people on whether they knew it, etc. I learned alot- I learned that no ones knows the word eleemosynary, no one writes any poems using the word eleemosynary, there are no Bible verses which use the word eleemosynary in any of the common translations, that eleemonsynary is hard to spell, and that I was starting to wish I’d been given a different word, like ubiquitous. Or floccinaucinihilipilification, which, while even less common, was, like, cool.

In 11th grade English, we had many fun and interesting projects, but the one that sticks in my mind was the Macbeth Blog. We had to write a fake blog from the point of veiw of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, or Macduff. I wrote a seventeen-page paper as Banquo’s ghost (called ‘Dead Man Walking’), with links, reader comments, and a ‘how should I haunt Macbeth’ contest. I still have it on my desktop.

The first assignment in my second semester of discrete math was to read The Library of Babel and answer some short questions.

“Eleemosynary” has been one of my favorite words since a 10th grade vocab assignment. I’ve never used that word since, nor have I even seen it written again until this day. :slight_smile:

In my 12th grade Women’s Studies class, we had to write a letter to our (all-female) school’s administration from the point of view of one of the feminist authors we had read (I chose Mary Wollstonecraft), critiquing the school in terms of how it lived up to that author’s ideals. We were allowed to indicate at the end of the assignment whether or not we would allow our teacher to actually send the letter on to the administration. I loathed my school and used this as an excuse to take the administration to task for all of the ways they fell short in my (and Mary Wollstonecraft’s ;)) opinion.

But my favorite assignment of all time was from my reference class in my graduate program for library science. We had to choose any topic in the world on which we wished we could be experts. Over the course of the semester we would gather reference materials on this topic in any format (books, audio-visual, electronic, etc.) and learn them – read them, read reviews of them, look for frequently cited sources and find them, and so forth. The final class project was called “The Big Dig” (I’m in Boston) and had to be a report or narrative of some kind choosing a dozen or so best reference materials on our topic and explaining how we found these sources and what was so great about them. I have long been interested in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland, and over the years I have amassed a sizable collection of materials just for my own pleasure, so I picked this for my topic. For the first time in my life, I got a chance to write 20 pages on a subject I loved, and I actually wrote too much and had to edit (and play with margins) to keep my paper under the 20 page limit. (I’m normally the “how can I stretch one page of ideas into 10 pages of essay?” type of student.) I had a blast writing that paper and I got an A+!

My daughter got an extra-credit assignment in seventh grade…interpret the lyrics to the song Seen All Good People, by Yes. Of course, I brought it here: Psst! Wanna interpret some Yes lyrics?

It was pretty fun.

In my college class “History of the English Language” we had to take an Indo-European root and write a story using X number of modern English words that came from that root (I wish I could remember the number!). Or, we could write a poem, which is what I did.

I chose the root “reudh-” which has lots of fun modern words associated with it like red, rubella, ruby, rust, etc. I wrote a poem about some guy with rashes from rubella. I got an A+.

I’m on the flip side of the coin, because I assigned the following, but my students seemed to dig it quite a bit, so here you go.

I teach English (and developmental English) at a couple of local colleges, and one of my classes is a short version of Composition and Rhetoric (10 weeks rather than 16.) The department requires that, in addition to the standard essays–description, narration, comparison/contrast, etc.–that we assign our students every day tasks like letter writing, and include an oral presentation.

Well, I got tired of dedicating a day or two to having everyone sit there, do the assignment, and then present it. It’s boring and it’s been done a million times. So I decided we’d play a simulation game and incorporate everything into it.

Basically, I wrote a scenario whereby the class selected a President of the US, a VP, Secretary of Defense, State, and a Press Secretary. Five members of the class played the roll of reporters, and the rest played “the people.” As the POTUS is giving his inaugural speech, I (the National Security Advisor) told him of a nuclear detonation in Colorado and whisked him to the Doomsday Plane (teacher’s lounge) with the rest of the POTUS staff.

Meanwhile, the reporters/public are wondering why the POTUS left so suddenly.

Anyway, there were a bunch of pre-determined pieces of information and misinformation that the POTUS staff had to discuss and decide upon, while keeping the press/public informed. Eventually, they could decide to use nuclear weapons or not. The reporters did “TV broadcasts” as appropriate, the people got interviewed and wrote letters to the POTUS, there were memos back and forth, and so on.

They dug the assignment quite a bit.

For Senior English in high school, we were assigned to write a dialogue between Hamlet and his psychiatrist. The catch is that Hamlet’s lines all had to be straight from the source. One of my friends challenged me to write all of my portions in verse, which I proceeded to do. It was the first all-nighter I ever pulled for a school project. Never found out what grade I got, and didn’t want to know. Had I gotten anything less than an A (from a teacher who was a notoriously tough grader) I would have been crushed.

I’ve still got it sitting around somewhere.

In high-school microbiology, we had to pick a communicable disease and write a paper on all aspects of it – historic, sociologic, literary and, of course, biologic. Cheery sort that I am, I chose the plague. I got an A+, and later in college recycled it in a European history course. Another A+, plus fun galore in being known as the plague girl.

My ninth grade English teacher wanted to do a class exercise on perception and memory. A friend and I happened to be the first kids to walk in the room that day, so she asked us to go out, come back 10 minutes late and act disruptive, after which she would explain to the class that it was an exercise and ask them to write down what they remembered. It was a lot of fun, especially because I was not the type to do that sort of thing at all – at least not in class. I got some great looks from people!

I remember reading Oedipus Rex in high school and our assignment was to interpret the story in some creative way or write a paper. As someone who wanted to be an illustrator I did an 11X17 drawing with all the characters and Oedipus in the forefront having just gouged out his eyes and thrusting them toward the viewer. It had gross bloody eye-sockets and everything. The teacher loved it and two days later the editor of the school lit magazine asked if I could draw an illustration to go on the cover of that year’s issue. Apparently my English teacher had showed her the Oedipus drawing and they both loved it.

I wish I still had that drawing, who knows where it went.

During two years of my high school summers, I had to attend a six week long program at Grand Valley State University. It was pretty much a way to get in some extra cramming to put us ahead for the next year. It was rigorous and insanely strict but also fun because of the small class sizes and all the kids who participated wanted to be there.
Anyway, during my first year we had a hardass biology teacher. Our final exam was a project/competition that was to be done outside of class. We were buddied up, given some disposable cameras, and a long list of around thirty or forty biology terms (parasite, tertiary consumer, decomposition, and so on) and told that we had to go find examples of those terms and take pictures of them in our free time. They were to be labled and turned in at the end.
The group with the most pictures would set the bar. The tricky part was that we had to take original pictures. We could take the same picture of an example that another group did, but that would cancel our pictures out. So all of a sudden the project became very competitive and we had to do some planning to see if it would be better to take an original picture or cancel another group’s out. Going down into the forest one day (GVSU has a beautiful campus) group A told us that group B had just found a dead raccoon a little ways away and if we wanted to cancel it out we should. Chances were we weren’t going to find another dead animal anytime soon so it was better to cancel theirs out with ours. I remember lots of discreet sneaking around. I also remember running back to the dorm with a snake in my hand to grab my camera and trying to run fast enough so nobody could see what I was exactly holding. You had to be sneaky and hoped that your disposable camera favored you (nobody had digital back then). I loved that project and I’m betting the teacher did, too.

Oh, that reminds me of mine – we had to make a Hamlet mix tape, something he would listen to while driving around in his car (we also had to pick the type of car we thought he’d drive). I can’t remember any of the songs I picked, but I do remember I gave Hamlet a 1968 VW Beetle :slight_smile:

Write a paper about what you would consider your perfect date. As in going out.

How skeevy is that?

My cousin and I where in the same class. Got the same assignement.

She got a ‘C’.


My favorite one was an extra credit I did for advanced placement Bio …

i dissected a fetal pig … and extracted the brain with spinal cord and optic nerve, eyes also still attached.
Went back a few years ago for career day … and Miss Piggy was still floating around in formalin scaring the little girls :stuck_out_tongue:

In high school biology we dissected cats. It was the end of the year and it was mostly for fun as we would not have enough time to complete the entire exorcise. The teacher mentioned that one year a student took the cat home and removed all the tissue from the bones and then mounted the cat and gave it to the teacher as a gift.

He said that if anyone wanted to do that he would give us extra credit. So my lab partner and I decided to do it and we got the extra credit. I asked the teacher if I could take the mounted skeleton home with me instead of leaving it with the class and he said that would be fine.

That weekend I dismounted the cat and removed the limbs and ribcage from the cat so that it was just a cat head attached to the spine. Then I remounted it and put it on my shelf. It looked like some mythical snake-cat thing and was really cool. I didn’t keep it very long and I trashed it sometime that summer.

My senior year, we had a “senior elective” which was titled “Science Fiction and Fantasy”.

Fantasy turned out to be a rehash of 7th grade English (which at our school was all about the Roman/Greek gods, for some reason). But Science Fiction was great… we watched Enemy Mine, read quite a few short stories, and the final was for us to split into groups, and do a colonization. one groupd would design the planet, another the ship, still another the selection process…

I and my best friend talked the teacher into letting us be a “Private Corporation” with a competing colonization effort. I designed the planet, we worked together on the ship, we did the questionaire, and we had a great deal of fun.

The class project devolved into Fascism (she said later that happens almost every year) but it turned out the vast majority of the class wanted to take our colony ship to Tertius III. heheh

To date, one of the funnest assignments I have ever had.

In quantum mechanics, for the second quarter course we had a rather odd professor. On the last day, he basically had us write the final exam for him, where as a class we discussed what we learned and what would make good exam questions. He kept emphasizing what the electron’s “motivation” would be for jumping to higher energy states. Somehow this led to an additional final class project: write a screenplay about an electron that involved the concepts we learned in the course.

The day after the final, we all met up in the computer lab and actually wrote up a screenplay about an electron who falls in love with a positron and goes on many adventures, including getting trapped in a delta function potential. I’m not sure what the professor thought of it or if he even remembered assigning it, but we had fun with it.

For Introduction to Biological Anthropology in college we got to be australopithecines.

The professor bought a goat from a Mexican meat market (they killed it for us) and then we all drove out to the desert, where an expert stone knapper taught us to make stone tools. We then divided into two groups. One group used the “stone axe” type tools and the other group used the flakes discarded from the axes to butcher the goat. We ate the goat and slept out in the desert. (We cheated, though, we had sleeping bags.)

Back at the university, the goat bones were boiled and the marks on each group of bones were compared with marks found on actual prehistoric bones to determine which type of tool australopithecines had most likely used.

My fifth grade teacher has us each pick an explorer, and write a short paper about him. Then, we all made life-size jointed paper skeletons, and decorated our skeletons with paper clothes that the skeleton might have worn. It was fun, but looking back, I have to wonder what the point of paper skeletons larger than us was.

Most Interesting:
Part of the grade for our college Shakespeare class was dependant on giving a presentation on a play assigned to us by the professor. It was a fairly open-ended assignment, with the suggestion that some people acted out scenes or showed videos. Our group was to go first, so we decided to be…creative. So we rented a few film version of our play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and carefully selected a few scenes. And then we assigned roles to people, borrowing a guy from another group with the promise that we’d help his group the same way if necessary.

When we started our presentation, our classmates were slightly surprised to be informed that they were the studio audience for the Willie Shakespeare show. (I was host) Keeping in character, the rest of the group proceeded to explain the play, whilst bickering like folks on Springer. The video clips were shown as “evidence” of the wrong-doings characters accused each other of.

We got an A.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

We had to go through and research the significance of the names/subjects in We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel.