Name Research Project

I first must give partial credit for this idea to my sister in law, Kim.  Parts of this lesson were taken from a lesson she does in her summer program.  I wanted to use the ideas but could not find a ace to slip it in to my curriculum.  Then I racked my brain one night before coming up with a way to use the pieces as part of my research project lesson.  By adding, 2 small written assignments that required the students to conduct a few days of research and create note cards, etc., I was able to create an assignment that my English 10 students actually seem to be enjoying 🙂  Here are the details:

Part 1


  • Handout provided in class
  • Write and share in Google Docs

Part 2

The Alphabet of You

  • Write two or three words for each letter of the alphabet describing yourself.  Create a small poster of your alphabet including one photo of yourself.  Be as creative as possible with colors and fonts, but everything needs to fit on one page.
  • Google Docs does not have as many fonts as Word.  You may want to do this part in Word and then drop it in my drop box.  If you type it in Word and then upload to Google Docs, it will reformat any fonts not in Google Docs

Part 3

Name Research

  • Write a 3-paragraph essay explaining your first name.  Discuss why you were given this name, what the history and etymology of your name is, and why you like or dislike your name.  The following websites are excellent sources for name meanings.  If you have a “unique” name and cannot find any information, come see me and we can look for variants of your name.  You must include a works cited page.
  • Structure and Sample essay
    • 1. Click link above.
    • a. This opens the file in GCPS Google Docs.
    • 3. Click File > Download as… > Word
    • 4. From Download folder, open the document in Word.
    • 5. Save document as Name Research Your Name on your desktop.
    • 6. Go back to Google Docs.
    • 7. Click Upload (under Bulldog on left)
    • 8. Drag and drop the document from Desktop and click upload at bottom.
    • 9. The document is now in your Google Docs.
    • 10. Make sure to delete the sample essay and works cited page before saving your essay.

  • Suggested websites
    • — – “We have almost 7,000 name meanings in our database and we’re growing every day. Below are the top names for the year 2002. Click on a name to find their name meanings and origins. You can also use our search function at the top of the page to find even more name meanings from our database.”
    • — – In addition to the meaning and history of a name, it includes statistics for popularity and current ratings of name as well as related names/spellings.
    • — – Offering over 45,000 name meanings

Part 4

Research paper

Two options

  1. Chose a celebrity or historical figure that shares your name (first or last).  Write a 2-3 page paper on this person.
  2. Chose a celebrity or historical figure that shares your birthday. Write a 2-3 page paper on this person.


  1. double-spaced, typed, 12 pt font
  2. works cited page
    1. minimum of 3 sources
    2. one must be a book
  3. parenthetical documentation within the paper
  4. outline
  5. note cards – done in Google Docs

Part 5

Poster Board

  • —A creative design (clip art, drawing, graphic design) of your first name in the center of poster.
  • Meaning of your name (one line) under the graphic
  • Bio poem
  • Alphabet of you
  • Photos of you and your celebrity
  • Fictitious journal entry of celebrity


  • 1. Choose celebrity/famous person for Part 4 of research project
  • 2. Create a document in Google Docs titled Your Name Bio-Cube Info
  • 3. Find the following information about your person and add it to the document
    • a. Name
    • b. Time period
    • c. Place
    • d. Birthplace
    • e. Personality
    • f. Education
    • g. Occupation
    • h. Spouse(s)
    • i. Obstacles in person’s life
    • j. Significant events
    • k. Quotation
  • 4. Go to Bio-Cube and use the information you collected to create a Bio-Cube for your person.
  • 5. When completed, click Print, then OK, then Preview.
  • 6. Save from Preview as a PDF and upload to Google Docs.

If you are interested in the handouts that I used, please leave a comment with your email address.  All comments are hidden, so no worries about stalkers 🙂