Any ideas for a project/paper about Soc. theories or early Sociologists? I'd like to use it for a first or second week formative assessment.
I would like to determine students' grasp of and relative interest in Sociology.
Considering the importance of history in the development of social theory, a great possible project to consider would be the creation of timelines.
Using a site such as timetoast.com, your students can enter and organize information chronologically and even further categorize it by schools of thought, by type of government, or under any other influential umbrella under which the theory was developed.
As far as interest and grasp, use the Sternberg model of KUD's: Knowledge, Understanding, and Doing and provide them with a student interest inventory geared toward the topics of sociology that you plan to cover, or that have been covered. By asking your students specific questions you may be able to contour the project to their likings.
For instance, a good question could be something as simple as:
When in history do you think that social theory was most influential? Provide a detailed answer to support your opinion.
Suppose that the student answers:
The Enlightenment was influential in the end of the Ancient Regime in France and in the creation of the United States of America through the ideas of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine.
From that short answer you can get a lot of further research for the student to perform: have the students search how influential was the Enlightenment, and whether we could challenge that tenet. They can also provide a biographical timeline of the thinkers of the Enlightenment, or whatever other period where social change has been evident. A list of "Agents of Social Change" is always a welcome project, as it will bring together the great minds who make a difference in every decade. This may even inspire the students to become philosophers and social scientists on their own accord.
Hence, check out timetoast, and search google under "creative timelines", or "timeline of social theory" and you will see a number of them.
Also, check out the classtools.com website which now has the capability of building EASY flash games to review biographies, names, etc. Just type in "make your own flash game education" or "high school flash games social science" and have lots of fun with it. The kids will love it.