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This lesson was inspired by a "Celebrate the U.S.A." lesson plan found on the Microsoft website for educators. Instead of students researching a state, I modified the lesson to have students research a U.S. city. Since my students really thrive in working in teams, I thought this would a great way to incorporate various skills in a real world application.



This lesson was designed for ninth graders with basic knowledge in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This project was introduced mid second semester (or mid third quarter) because this project requires students to have skills in creating formal documents with proper citation, creating graphs and charts, and public speech. Throughout the school year, students have been continually practicing writing drills in Microsoft Word, however, this will be their first time collaborating with other teammates in order to produce a group report in my class.


BCIS Skills Addressed (Texas)

Locate and interpret written information. .

Incorporate supplementary resources and references.

Demonstrate productive work habits and attitudes.

Organize ideas logically and sequentially.

Demonstrate basic writing techniques

Edit a variety of written documents

Produce business reports, integrating charts, and graphics.

Identifies the guidelines for using graphics, fonts, and special effects in presentations.

Analyze the effectiveness of multimedia presentations.

Determine the appropriate technology to create and deliver an effective presentation.

Teamwork, organization, oral speech, critical thinking skills, and creativity are enhanced in the Best Cities project.



Project Timeline

Day 1
Project overview, assign teams, pick team name, assign team member roles
Day 2 Delegate research topics, gather research on assigned topics
Day 3-7 Continue research
Day 8-10 Compose Group Outline
Day 11-15 Work on written group report: Group report due on Day 15
Day 15-19 Work on PowerPoint presentation; Presentation due on Day 19
Day 20-24 Class Presentations

Team Information

Team members will be assigned. Once assigned, your team decide the specific roles of each team members. Each team will have four or five members. Below are role descriptions of each team member: 

Project Manager - Duties include making key decisions for group, delegating team member tasks, ensure team stays on task, giving timeline reminders for group, writing update emails to teacher, motivating group, maintain group cohesion during project, leading team to success and providing quality work

Creative Director - This person has the "creative eye" for the PowerPoint presentation. This person has an affinity towards graphics, design, and creativity. Responsible for architecting the technical and creative aspects of the presentations.

Editor - This person is detail-oriented ensuring grammar, spelling, capitalization is error free on both the written report and PowerPoint presentation. This person is "Webster" friendly and has a strong knowledge of vocabulary, sentence structure, and format. This person keeps is responsible for organizing the group binder, and making sure team's electronic files are easily organized and accessible.

Research Analyst - This person likes conducting research and guiding others to useful sites. This person is a "Googlefile," who doesn't mind digging deep to find helpful and interesting information. This person will collect and track all useful resources among team members. This person will write the Works Cited page of the report.

City Information

Each team will decide on a city to choose from the list below:

Austin, TX Atlanta, GA Portland, OR Washington D.C.
Boston, MA Las Vegas, NV New York City, NY Philadelphia, PA
Chicago, IL Seattle, WA Phoenix, AZ Phoenix, AZ
Honolulu, HI Nashville, TN

Los Angeles, CA

Houston, TX
Dallas, TX San Francisco, CA Miami, FL San Diego, CA

Research Topic Areas

Each team will be responsible for covering each of the topics below. As a team, you will decide which team member is responsible for researching the topic area below.

City History - When was your city founded? How was the city founded? What are the historical events in the city's history?

Weather & Geography - What is the geography of the city? What is the weather like? What is the average temparature? What is the rainfall?

Population - What is the population? Is this city a booming city? Is the city diverse?

Job Opportunities - What is the unemployment rate? What are the cities' biggest employers? What are the major industries? Is this city experiencing a decline or growth in job opportunities?

Cost of Living- Is it afforable or expensive to live in the city?

Crime - How safe is it to live here?

Famous Attractions/Shopping/Entertainment- What can I do for fun? What are different types of restaurants I can visit? Where can I shop till I drop?

Sports and Recreation - Does the city have major sports teams? Can the city offer outdoor activities?

The culmination of your project will result in a 1) Written formal report and 2) 7-10 minute PowerPoint presentation of your city presented by ALL members of your team.


These pages were developed through TeacherTECH, the teacher professional development component of GirlTECH, which is sponsored by the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education (CEEE) and made possible by support from the National Science Foundation and Rice University.

Copyright © 1995 -2006 by Tricia Escueta
Updated: Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:33 AM