Day 15: Starting Our Projects

During class today, students will have time to really begin working on their projects, including identifying their topic (the event/movement their memorial will commemorate) and starting their research.

Goal: for everyone to decide what event or movement their memorial will be about and to begin their research.


  • These last few lessons will likely need more deliberate modification on your end so that students have enough time and support to complete projects that they can be proud of. See more recommendations/considerations for the final project here.
  • The neuroscience review activity can easily be moved to a lesson earlier in the class. You may also choose to cut it, especially if you feel that your students need more time working on their projects. With that said, I think it adds a nice full-circle moment of testing students’ own long-term memories that also subtly communicates to them the importance of being deliberate about what you remember.

Day 16: Project Work

Another work day! Depending on your class’s pacing and structure, your students may develop their memorial designs today, which is really exciting progress.

Goal: create a design for your memorial that meaningfully captures the message you want to convey.


  • See the guide.

Particularly in regard to the final project, be sure to comment your advice for organizing and structuring the assignment below:

Day 19: Conclusions

I still remember this being a really emotional last class. Even though everything was over Zoom, I felt so connected with my students. I also felt like I poured my soul into this course. Memory really touches every facet of our lives and it’s difficult to try to wrap everything that this course is and means into a 5-minute conclusion. In my mind, the best way to spend this last class together is to share our projects and to reflect on what we’ve learned.

Goal: to share final projects and conclude our class together.


  • Think about the format through which you want students to share their projects – in front of small groups or the whole class, how will classmates engage with presentations?
  • Consider writing students individual notes thanking them for their contributions to the class community and praising their achievement + growth over the course.
  • Think about how you want to conclude the course? What do you want students to remember from this experience?

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome, as are your experiences – what did teaching this course mean to you? What did your last day feel like?

You’ve made it to the end. Please email me if you taught through this class, I want to hear from you:

Final Project

For this course’s final project, each student designs an original memorial to commemorate an event or movement from history that they believe is important. Through the process of creating their own. memorial, students will develop research and communication skills, a broader understanding of memory landscapes, and a thoughtful awareness of design aesthetics.

Here is more on the details of the project:

Note: I purposefully limited students to choosing either a historical event or movement for commemoration because I didn’t want students to design monuments to individual people.

Here is a guide that students can use to help them organize their thoughts as they design their memorial:


  • Logistics:
    • Introduce the project earlier during Week 4, perhaps during either Lesson 12 (7/26 on the calendar above) or Lesson 13 (7/27), so that students have more time to think about possible topics.
    • If at all possible add an extra work period between Lesson 17 (Tuesday, 8/3) and Lesson 18 (Wednesday, 8/4) so students can have more time to complete their projects.
  • Project Requirements:
    • How structured do you want this project to be in terms of milestone deadlines and exit tickets? How much guidance do your students need?
    • Think about modifying the research requirements to the abilities of your students. If they are very familiar with research, include a more rigorous research component (perhaps a written report). If they are less familiar, provide ample resources (like databases, search engines, archives, and free newspaper links), clear expectations, and continuous support to your students.
    • Consider whether students might be allowed to create their projects into another medium, such as CAD.
    • For students completing drawings of their memorials, consider requiring students to submit another drawing of the memorial from a different angle so that drawing projects are equally rigorous as construction/CAD projects.
    • For students who are building physical models, you may want to indicate a minimum size requirement; alternatively, you may just want to speak with each of those students individually to see what they are thinking.
  • Presentations:
    • How will students present their projects? To small groups? To the whole class?
    • How do you want members of the audience to engage with each presentation (compliments, questions, etc.)?

This is a really incredible project. I found the one-on-one meetings with students the most fulfilling in terms of pushing their thinking to go deeper and seeing what they come up with. I also had the incredible opportunity to host a virtual family/community showcase where students could share their projects in front of a large group of people including their families. You may also consider doing something like that so students can show off what they made and what they’ve learned!