A number of people have tweeted or emailed me to post survey responses from middle school students specifically. So, here you go: a random sample from 1400+ answers –

What was the MOST INTERESTING work (activity/project/test/lab etc.) you were asked to do in any class in the last few months? Describe what made it so interesting (so teachers can do more of it).

  1. Make a collage in English the project was interesting and probably one of the most fun I have had because it wasn’t really related to the book we read The Giver all we needed to do was cut out pictures or words that had to do with the theme of the story.
  2. making my me bag I got to teach others about me
  3. To be honest I really like the catapult lab final in physics because of the hands on trial and error concept to it but I disliked the lack of materials to actually launch a projectile with.
  4. nothing we do in class is fun and interesting to me!
  5. a health project that I am doing right now
  6. The most work I have had was to make a catapult in physics. I like this though because it keeps me un board and active.
  7. I enjoyed doing the plant labs in science. it was fun to do and make the labs.
  8. in science during the labs, because it was more hands on then most of my other classes.
  9. PROJECTS FOR MATH TH TANGRAM PACKET.
  10. Swatters in science.
  11. in technology we made a 3d city block on the computers, it was interesting because it taught me more about how things work
  12. A health project for incoming 6th graders because its really fun and you can choose whatever you want to do with the project. For the health project you also work in groups.
  13. playing handball
  14. In English we were asked to do a project on anything that relates to the book “Tom Sawyer”
  15. The stocks market math because we got to buy and sell fake stocks
  16. I liked the Roman test because during the Rome unit I have learned that Rome is very rich in culture and has very interesting events and activities that has impacted us in many ways.
  17. I think that the ISA in science were really fun.
  18. Doing my ISA because you had to learn something that included science(It was in science class) and learn all about it. Then you present what you learned. (My most recent one was on genetic engineering)
  19. the role playing in social studies is fun
  20. I think science labs are the most interesting work done in my classes.
  21. The fruit fly lab was interesting because it was fun.
  22. The hydro rockets in science, because you had to think about how much fuel it would need, how it had to be shaped, and how much it weighed for it to be successful, and then we got to build our own rocket.
  23. Science- Everest letter
  24. The most interesting thing I’ve had to do was the owl pellet lab in biology. It’s just fun to dig up bones of long dead animals, and be able to identify them. Espically when you have a small chance of finding a bird skeleton.
  25. There has not been anything interesting happening in class for the pass few months
  26. videos and pictures
  27. Essay with research
  28. labs in science
  29. research project
  30. I enjoyed reading the science-fiction novel, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. What made me most interested by the story was the moral of the story.
  31. None.
  32. experiments
  33. I like my art projects because you can do whatever you would like, but within the instructions the teacher gives.
  34. Art project and the Science Labs
  35. debate in english
  36. The most interesting thing i’ve done in the past few months was when my social studies teacher set the class up as a factory and had us make halloween cards and he acted like the factory owner so he would pretend to yell at us and say go faster, it was fun and we learned what factories were like.
  37. The most interesting work was learning about WWI because I like learning about wars and history.
  38. we worked in an assembally line so we can see what its like
  39. nothing
  40. writing about steroids because i really did not know much about this topic
  41. in social studies we have discussions and everyone is involved
  42. THe most intresting was my english research project
  43. When my social studies teacher made us work in desks of rows with one job. He wanted to show us how people worked in factories. We had one job to do (mine was coloring something green) then I would pass it on to the next person and they would color it yellow. There was also the “boss” or owner of the factor who fired us if we talked. This is how it really worked in factories.
  44. doing my health project
  45. I like the science labs the best because they are hands on work, and thats what i like.
  46. NONE OF MY WORK IS INTERESTING
  47. art projects
  48. doing a project.
  49. a class survey were we got up and went to a side of the room if we thought a certian way about a book
  50. Reasearch Project for English It Was Fun And Interesting Topic To Do
  51. Physical Education activities in my opinion are the most interesting work i have done so far this year.
  52. Our English memoir project that we did in the beginning of the school year. It gave the teacher a piece of my life. so she knew me better.
  53. I think the most interesting work was in Spanish when we took some days to just review the subject, i learned a lot on the subject.
  54. there were no interesting projects
  55. nothing
  56. game in french as reveiw. jeopardy in social studies about imperialism
  57. activity because we have fun
  58. Badminton in PE
  59. Badminton is pretty fun to play with others”
  60. In October Mr.x had us do a production line in class and that made time fly like never before.
  61. a game we did in french.
  62. honestly first the past months I have not had any interesting projects most of these have been from last year or the year before.
  63. badmiton in gym because it was fun
  64. I like the labs we do in Earth Science.
  65. labs are very interesting to do because there are most of the times very easy and fun to do
  66. the tectonic plates activity in science
  67. I like looking at the rocks that glow under the black-light in Earth Science.
  68. I made my own movie in FACS! I found it really fun to make.
  69. None of it is interesting.
  70. the most interesting work was a lab we did in science. it made us communicate with other people and work together to complete the work
  71. the most intresting thing a teacher asked me to do was to turn and talk, we get to discuss the topic with other clssmates and really get other ippinons.
  72. The most interesting work I have done in the past couple months is playing badminton in gym
  73. learning about world war 1 in social studies.
  74. we programed a robot called a boebot, either that or stuff and things, when we build things using items we bring from home and try to make something useful
  75. Stations (science) because it was fun to learn about different experiments and also helps you study
  76. in gifted i really liked doing our logic couse called lady or tiger. it made me think and for once i was actually challenged.
  77. side note- get us gifted kids out of the closet and into an actuall class room!!!!!! we are most valuable asset. use us to your advantage”
  78. working with partners on a project.
  79. in 7th grade i built a clock in tech ed
  80. most interesting work i was asked to do was make a poster and try to sell or convince people to buy it , this was in comm. arts class
  81. The most interesting work i had to do was when we were allowed to work in groups with worksheets to do.
  82. when we had to make anything that had an effect with electricity.
  83. Write a story
  84. project,it was something fun to do
  85. french family project  because it took creativity
  86. Progjects.
  87. science labs sometimes
  88. any science experiment
  89. in science we made a paper helicoper and did an experiment on how weight effects how long it stays in the air i liked this because i got to work with a friend and the helicopters were pretty cool
  90. when i was asked to work out a bunch of math sheets with my freinds
  91. Themost interesting lab that I did in the last 12 months, was the microscopes in the late7th grade year.
  92. I think that the most interesting was doing a history project/actvity when we were supposed to live on an island and pick 25 things to come with us.  Then the number kept on going down to only 10.  It was fun.
  93. The MOST INTERESTING work that I was asked to do in any class in the last 12 months was an experiment that we had to do in science class with a partner.
  94. Tech, i love to biuild stuff

I learn best when –

  1. teacher plays videos
  2. teacher talks clear
  3. is fun and bright and sunny and happy and does nice things
  4. we do group activities
  5. the teacher is funny and exciting.
  6. helps me relate to things and puts images into my head. I also learn best hands on or visually.
  7. When the teacher makes it funner.
  8. makes hand on projects in class, or work. The work has to be fun, but also get the point across. The teacher has to loosen up once and awhile, and joke around.
  9. makes us write notes and explain it well.
  10. the teacher explains well
  11. the way i learn best in class is i pay attention a lot more when the topic is interesting.
  12. the teacher is 1 on 1 with her students
  13. Talks Loud And Makes The Unit Fun
  14. Is slowly walking us through our difficulties.
  15. I learn best in class when the teacher is having us copy notes on the overhead (so i can be able to review for the tests/quizzes) and when she/he explains it to us to be clarity.
  16. I learn best in class when the teacher goes over the subject a couple of times until we fully understand it.
  17. talks and reads the lesson
  18. doing group work.fun activities that have to deal with the subject we are learning. not just taking notes and hearing the teacher talk
  19. when she does interesting stuff
  20. Has a GOOD sense of humor, not too strict, hands H.W. at least 2-3 times a week
  21. Puts us in small groups and lets us do seat work together. All the kids learn from each other.
  22. Shows us videos that are on topic and explains what happens as we go along, uses Powerpoints with animation and soundFX to keep the class paying attention. or in
  23. is not boring
  24. lets us talk to peers about lessons.
  25. Does the lesson step by step with the whole class
  26. writing notes and listening to the teacher
  27. stays involved in the lesson and gives us help when needed.
  28. gives back quizzes and test to study off from. I also do better when we do fun projects, and the teacher is really nice and understanding.
  29. is interesting and funny, and not too uptight. I like doing independent work and not working with a partner.
  30. explains clearly the material we are learning
  31. is funny and talks to us like teens not adults.
  32. gives work with partners
  33. lets me do independant work without he/she talking or bothering me.
  34. i learn best in class when the teacher allows us to interact with one another.
  35. Goes step by step with the class, and is nice and funny
  36. Shows us examples and goes over things that people do not understand more than once.
  37. is more active
  38. I learn the best in class when the teacher is energetic and happy. When they have fun projects and fun lessons planned.
  39. gives partner activities
  40. lets us work together and have a good time and makes the class fun and doesnt make me fall asleep
  41. Is intresting, teaches well, often lets us work with a partner, and give practice test.
  42. Actually teaches me it by talking, not by powepoint or taking notes.
  43. explains things clearly
  44. I learn best in class when we do fun activities or the teacher shows us videos
  45. shows an example, explains it, and then then helps you do it.
  46. lets us take notes and then explains the notes.
  47. makes the subject interesting. This causes me to pay more attention and try harder.
  48. Shows the material visually.
  49. Explains things thoroughly, and explains things slowly, so I am able to understand, and the teacher doesn’t bore me so much that i dose off.
  50. is able to keep a class interesting and funny while teaching.
  51. by notes and handouts
  52. works with me in private one on one.
  53. Is fun and actually makes the subject interesting.
  54. is helping me out in private

PS: A useful graphic to go with these results:

MS survey most bored

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