Ideas and Info

Here’s some ideas to get you started.

Advertisements: create an advertising campaign to sell a product.  The product can be real or imaginary.  Try using this to teach persuasion, as an assignment for speech class, or to reinforce skills learned in a consumer class.

Album Covers: create artwork for an album.  The album may be connected to a skill (such as multiplication) and should demonstrate or explain how that skill is used.  Or the album cover may be connected to a novel and the art work might present a relevant theme in the story.  Another use would be to have students create natural disaster album covers in a science class where the cover would depict and explain the event.

Autobiographies: write the story of your life.  This assignment may help you teach autobiography or reinforce a broad range of  writing skills.

Awards: create awards to present to historical figures, scientists, mathematicians, authors, or characters from a novel.

Banners: create an informational banner.  Students could create time lines of the American civil war or the Spanish alphabet.

Bar Graphs: create illustrated bar graphs.  These may be used to explore data sets, use statistics to support a point, or illustrate a growth or change in a market.

Biographies: write the life story of someone else.  It could be a friend, family member, historical figure, or a fictional character.

Blogs: create blogs for literary characters or historical figures.  Create an actual blog for free atcom or just have students write and organize articles on white printer paper if the internet is not available.

Blueprints: create blueprints or floor plans of a scene described in a novel, an historic setting, or an earthquake proof bridge or structure.

Boardgames: create boardgames where students review course concepts.  Game play should be based around answering review questions correctly.

Book Clubs: Students read either novels or selections from the text book and discuss the readings in small groups.  Students might be required to take notes about the discussion or provide an audio recording of the discussion as the artifact to be evaluated.  Students might also create discussion questions beforehand and have these approved by the instructor.  This activity may be applied to reading selections in any subject.

Booklets: create an informational booklet.  In the past I’ve had students create booklets showing comma rules, narrator’s perspective, genre, figurative language, and more.  Booklets can be applied to almost any unit of study and all they require to make are some blank white printer paper folded in half, one of my favorites.

Bookmarks: create illustrated bookmarks with relevant information.  A bookmark might summarize previous chapters or contain the definitions of challenging vocabulary words.

Brochures: brochures can be made as either tri-fold or bi-folds. Students can create informational brochure’s about geographic locations, a story’s setting, or a natural event such as how a tidal wave is formed or how the food chain works.

Calendars: create a calendar charting the dates of key events.  This can be applied to an historical event (like a famous battle), a scientific event (such a the path of Hurricane Katrina), or the sequence of events in story.

Casting Calls: select people (fictional, famous, or otherwise) to play the role in a movie version of story or historic event.  Explain which character traits were considered in each selection.

Cheers: create a cheer explaining a scientific or mathematical process.  Alternately, a cheer could summarize the events of a novel or an historic episode.

Classified Ads: create classified type ads as seen in newspapers.  It could be a wanted ad or a M4F type ad depending on the age of your students.  Update the concept and have students create Craigslist ads or Ebay listings.  Example applications include covering vocabulary words, introducing multiple characters in a drama, examining figures in an historical event, or studying endangered and extinct plants and animals.

Coat of Arms: create a family coat of arms for a character from a novel or a person from history.  A good activity for teaching symbolism.

Collages: create a collage or collection of images related to a topic.  Images can be hand drawn, printed, or clipped from a magazine or newspaper.  These work best with large thematic ideas that give students the ability to maneuver, like a collage representing slavery, the 1920s,  or an entire story.

Comic Strips or Books: create an illustrated comic strip or book representing events from history or a work of fiction.

Crossword Puzzles: create a crossword puzzle to review definitions of challenging vocabulary words.  Great for science, social studies, reading, and even math terms.

Diary Entries: create a diary entries for a person from history or a fictional character who experienced an historic event.  Can also be applied to characters in a story or survivors of a disaster.

Dramas: create a play.  Students might adapt an existing story or create original works and plays can be centered around any event in history.

Editorials: provide an opinion about a hot topic in history or science.  Should the space program be reduced?  Is US military intervention in current conflicts appropriate?  Is global warming a concern?

Fables: create fables that teach a lesson.  Students may create illustrated story boards of their original fables or even dramatic adaptations which they then perform.  A good character building activity.

Flags: create a flag representing either an actual county (like Libya)  or fictitious place (like Narnia).  This project should be accompanied by a brief report explaining what ideas the colors and images on the flags represent.

Flash Cards: create cards helpful for study and review.  Flash cards can be created for any subject and topic.

Flowcharts: students create flowcharts analyzing and representing a mathematical process, a natural event, or an event in history or literature.

Glossaries: If students need to understand a large array of vocabulary words, consider having them construct glossaries to help them study and review.

Hieroglyphics: create pictures that represent vocabulary words.  Alternately, students could retell the events of a story or historical episode in simple pictures.

ID Badges: create identification cards for characters from a work of literature or for people involved in an historical event.  Include relevant details on the badges.

Illustrated Quotes: Have students choose a meaningful quote from a text that they are reading.  They should explain why the quote interests them and then write the quote on a blank sheet of paper and draw related images.

Instructions: write instructions on how to perform an operation or experiment, diagram a sentence, or start a World War.

Inventions: create and illustrate your new invention that address a problem in nature or society.  Address environmental or sociological issues.

Limericks: write limericks about events from history or scientific discoveries such as, “There once was a man named Sir Newton…”

Magazines: create magazines covering large units of study such as the Industrial Revolution or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, that way many articles can be written.  Images may also be drawn or printed and added to the publication.

Maps: create maps based on actual geographic or national boundaries and landmarks or maps illustrating the setting of a story and the journey of a character.

Merit Badges: create vocabulary merit badges where the term is defined in three or fewer words and a small image is drawn to represent the definition.

Movie Adaptations: plan a movie version of a novel, scientific discovery, or historical event.  Pick who will play what role, plan scenes, write dialog, even create a soundtrack.

Murals: create a mural or a large drawing of many images related to a larger idea.  A mural about the Harlem Renaissance might contain images of Langston Hughes,  Countee Cullen, and W.E.B. DuBois.

Myths: write creation myths to account for scientific or historic events or for a creative writing assignment.

Newscasts: deliver important information from literature, history, science, or math in the form of a newscast.  Newscast can be prerecorded or presented live.

Pen-pals: write letters to and from important people from history or the characters in a story.

Poems and Raps: write a poem or rap reviewing any topic.

Postcards: similar to the pen-pals assignment above, but postcards have illustrations representing thematic concepts.

Posters: create posters to review skills.  As a bonus, many of these posters can often be displayed during state tests, so if your students create high quality posters, the posters may be a useful resource during the test.

Questionnaires: create a questionnaire and survey students to gather an understanding about thematic issues from a text or social problems for a speech or presentation.

Radio Broadcasts: create a script for a radio program covering any appropriate field of study.

Reader’s Theater: silently act out the events of a story or text alone or with a group of people while someone reads the text aloud.  Students should be given time to prepare their acting.

Recipes: students can create recipes about how atoms combine to form molecules (H2O), or how to create events like the French Revolution or World War I (add one Arch Duke).

Scrapbooks: create a scrapbook of your favorite poems or important events from a decade.

Skits: create a short skit to bring an historical event to life.

Slide Shows: if you have access to enough computers and a projector, I suggest having students create PowerPoint presentations.  With just a little instruction, students should be able to create pretty flashy presentations, and you can combine this project with a research paper as a culminating activity.

Soundtracks: create a soundtrack for a movie version of a novel or historical or natural event.  Use actual songs or just describe the mood of each song if you do not know song titles.  Explain why you feel that each song matches the event.  A good activity to review mood.

Stamps: students create commemorative stamps honoring people, depicting elements from the periodic table, or challenging vocabulary terms.

Storyboards: create story boards summarize a short story or to plan a narrative, movie, or presentation.

Tests: write a test to help you review unit goals and objectives.  Questions can be multiple choice, matching, and true or false.  Answer keys should be provided.

Vocabulary Quilts: create quilts with badges representing the meanings of vocabulary terms.  Badges should have an image and a few words.

Websites: design websites that historical figures, scientists, mathematicians, authors, or characters from novels would have had.  Also, student can create websites for historical movements, scientific theories, or literary concepts.

Worksheets: create review worksheets.  Worksheets can be applied to any subject and topic of study.

Yearbooks: create yearbooks reviewing the characters and events from several stories that the class read or containing information about many important figures from history.

Phew! And some help with funding? Try here!

Alec Dickson Trust

The Alec Dickson Trust have awards of up to £500 for people under 30 towards local community projects.

The Arts Council

The Arts Council provides grants from £1,000 to £30,000 (average £5,000) for individuals or arts organisations involved in arts-related activities that benefit people in England, or that help artists and arts organisations in England to carry out their work. 0845 300 6200

Austin and Hope Pilkington

Contact Austin and Hope Pilkington for funding for projects relating to children, youth, the elderly and medical grants. Grants are for one year usually £1,000 to £10,000, with the majority being £5,000 or less.

Awards for All

Awards for All award grants of between £300 and £10,000 for schools, and voluntary/community organisations in the UK running projects that enable people to take part in art, sport, heritage or community activities, or promote education, the environment or health in the local community. 0845 410 2030

BBC Children in Need

BBC Children in Need award grants for projects working with disadvantaged children and young people, aged 18 and under. The small grants are under £10,000 for one to three years and the main grants are over £10,000 for one to three years. 0345 609 0015 


Biffa award grants to projects near Biffa sites that provide or improve community spaces, cultural facilities and places for outdoor recreation. 01636 670 000

Big Community Wildlife

Contact Big Community Wildlife for grants of £300 to £10,000 for projects that bring local people together to discover enjoy or protect the wildlife in their local area. 0845 410 2030

Big Lottery Fund

Grants from £300 to £500,000 for projects in a variety of areas are available from the Big Lottery Fund. 0845 410 2030

B&Q – One Planet Living Grants

B&Q – One Planet Living Grants. Grants of £50 to £250 of B&Q materials to support a local community project. Projects must demonstrate that provision of access for disabled people has been considered. Projects should be sustainable and the materials and methods used should not cause environmental damage in the short or long-term. 0845 609 6688

B&Q Waste Donation

B&Q Waste Donation is a scheme co-ordinated in store either by the environmental champion, duty or warehouse manager who will keep a Waste Donation Form on file for interested groups. Can donate waste materials, for example slightly damaged tins of paint, off-cuts of timber, and end of range materials, to community groups, charities and schools. 0845 609 6688

The Clothworkers’ Foundation

The Clothworkers’ Foundation awards capital grants to UK charities with an annual income of less than £15m. 0207 623 7041

Comic Relief

Comic Relief provide grants for UK or international projects.

Community Project Grants from YouthBank

YouthBank is open to people in the UK aged 11 to 24. Local councils are providing this opportunity to engage young people in their communities with a £500 grant for a community based project. 0116 254 6960

The Co-operative

Community groups and co-operatives can apply for support from The Co-operative.

Educational Grants Advisory Service

The Educational Grants Advisory Service helps students who are over 16, “taking their first steps on the educational ladder”, primarily assisting students who cannot receive statutory funding. Priority to lone parents, disabled, refugees, people from underprivileged backgrounds. It gives advice on how and where to obtain funds. Send a SAE to Family Welfare Association 501 – 505 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AU or call 0207 241 7459 for more information.

Football Foundation

The Football Foundation has a Facilities Grant Scheme for projects that improve facilities for football and other sport in local communities. 0845 345 4555

Ford Britain Trust

Ford Britain Trust have small grants of up to £250 for work supporting activities with clear benefit to the community, work with young people/children, schools, special educational needs, those with disabilities. Applications are invited from registered charities, schools/PTAs, not for profit organisations (including small clubs and societies). 01277 252 551


The Community Spaces programme will help groups in England to create or improve green and open spaces to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhood. Grants between £10,000 and £50,000 are available. 0845 367 1671

Hazel’s Footprints

Hazel’s Footprints is a charity which seeks to provide funding for dedicated individuals wishing to work voluntarily in schools, charities or community projects abroad. 01896 849 677

Ideas Fund

The Ideas Fund can provide £1,000 for groups or individuals aged 16 to 25 to fund creative projects from any creative discipline e.g. dance, film, music, and photography.

Local Libraries

Reference libraries have guides listing trusts and charitable foundations. Those to look out for are ‘The Educational Grants Directory’, ‘The Grants Register’, ‘A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need’, ‘The Youth Funding Guide’ and the ‘Directory of Grant Making Trusts’ or ask for the software, ‘Grants for Individuals’

The Marine Society

The Marine Society has grants and loans available to young people taking up a career at sea, university entrants who want to follow a career at sea and those wishing to study A-levels before taking up a career at sea. 0207 654 7050

National Lottery Good Causes

The National Lottery funds projects in the UK that benefit the community and  ‘good causes’. This covers arts, heritage, sport, community and voluntary groups, health, education and environmental projects, and the Olympic games. 0845 275 0000

O2 Think Big

O2 Think Big is for people aged 13 to 25 years old and is to help make things better in the local community. The award is for £300 plus training and support and it may be possible to apply for further funding if a project is going well. Successful projects in the past include transforming an abandoned garden into a vibrant outdoor space. 0800 902 0250

The Rank Foundation

The Rank Foundation provides support for young people to encourage leadership amongst them. Grants are available for local community initiatives. 0207 834 7731

The Savoy Educational Trust

The Savoy Educational Trust gives grants to people entering or working in the hospitality industry, or charities offering hospitality related education projects. Either scholarships of £5,500 to young people to help with their training or grants up to £500 to purchase items such as books, uniform and kitchen equipment e.g. knives. Initial contact/request for funding should be made in writing. 0207 269 9692

Starbucks Youth Action

UK Youth and Starbucks have launched Starbucks Youth Action, a programme that offers grants of up to £2,000 to young people wanting to improve their own communities. Starbucks Youth Action aims to encourage and inspire a generation of young people to take action and create positive local change. The programme provides training, support and funding to young people from 10 cities in the UK and Ireland. If you are 16 to 24 (or know someone who is) and have an idea that would benefit your community you can apply for grants of up to £2,000, plus volunteer time from Starbucks staff, to make that idea a reality. To see some examples of the kinds of projects that are funded, click here. For further information or support, please contact Liz Ablett at UK Youth on or 07872 415 351

The Tudor Trust

The Tudor Trust is an independent grant-making trust which supports voluntary and community groups working in any part of the UK. They particularly want to help smaller, community-led organisations which work directly with people who are at the margins of society: organisations which support positive changes in people’s lives and in their communities. 0207 727 8522

Turn 2 Us

Turn2us exists to help people access the money available to them – through benefits, grants and other financial help.

Their free, accessible website has been designed to help people find appropriate sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on their particular needs and circumstances. 0808 802 2000

University Grants

University Grants have compiled a selection of organisations that offer funding of this nature.

UnLtd Sports Relief Awards

UnLtd Sports Relief Awards are for 11- to 21-year-olds who want to tackle conflicts in their communities by using sport to bring people together. Funding of up to £1,000 is available for entrepreneurial young people. Help reduce violence in your area by getting young people to channel their energies into football or organise a skateboarding competition. 0207 566 1100


vcashpoint is a funding initiative for young people aged 16 to 25 who have got an idea for a London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired volunteering project to improve the local community. Apply for a grant of up to £2,500 from vcashpoint to bring the idea to life.


Vocalise runs an open grants programme (£5,000 to £20,000)  which encourages music-making for children and young people aged five to 18 (or up to 25 for those with special education needs, disabilities or in detention). 0207 902 1060

The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers

The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers runs many charitable activities involving support and careers in the British furniture making industry. Please contact them for more information. 0207 256 5558

The Yapp Charitable Trust

The Yapp Charitable Trust make grants for running costs and salaries to small registered charities in England and Wales to help sustain their existing work. 0191 4922118