Million Dollar Project
Overview Dear Fifth Grade Students and Parents,

Attached are the instructions for an independent home project that will take one month. One of the requirements of the Extended Learning Program is an independent project and the Everyday Math Program includes an excellent one that extends on what the students are learning in math. I have included a calendar to help with planning and completing the project. I will also send home weekly reminders on flyers and e-mail. The projects will be presented in class and at the Project Fair in May.

Please spend some time brainstorming with your child about ideas for projects. Most of these fifth graders participated in Future Problem Solving and this is an ideal project to which to apply the process. I have added two requirements. First is that the $1,000,000 project must benefit the community in some way, people other than just the student's family and friends, as an extension of the usual project. This should encourage some discussion and research on how the student could have a positive impact. A list of some previous projects is attached. However, whatever project the student chooses should fit the resources you have available in terms of time and materials. Since this is an independent project, please limit your assistance as much as possible to logistical and advisory help and proofreading.

The second requirement is that the student interview an expert about their project and include the questions they asked and the responses they got. I encourage the student to make the arrangements, perhaps with a phone call from a parent to smooth the way and reassure local merchants or state employees that the request is legitimate. I would be happy to provide written proof of the assignment or make a phone call if needed.

Three dimensional models are welcome, but not required. Charts, graphs, diagrams, artwork, photographs, and videos are all excellent ways to extend on the basic project. In order to meet the standards, the instructions and paperwork attached must be completed as written. Please E-mail or call with any questions. Most fifth grade Extended Learning students across the district are participating in this exciting project, and I'm glad that Riverbend Students have the opportunity to do this meaningful project.

Some Previous Project Topics Animal Wildlife Center
Artificial Turf Soccer Field
Douglas Community Center
Eaglecrest Lodge Addition
Education Program on Family Abuse
High-Tech Computers for School
Laser Tag Arena
Medical Clinic
Medivac Plane to Seattle
Nationwide Bank to Save Mountain Gorillas
Outdoor Swimming Pool
Orphans Camp
Paintball Park
Physical Rehabilitation Center
Raptor Center
Sea School Camp
Second Crossing to Douglas
Shelters for School Bus Stops
Sports Museum
Teen Computing Center
Training Boat for Southeast Alaska Water Safety Program
Water Park
Use this checklist to make sure you have completed all the steps. I will use a copy of this sheet and the rubric below to score your project.

1. Project contract, signed by both you and at least one of your parents, indicating that you and your parents understand and intend to complete all components of the Million Dollar Project.

2. Construct a PowerPoint presentation that fully describes your project. Include the following:

A. Text:


  • What it is
  • Who it's for
  • Where it's located
  • When it will be open
    (daily or weekly hours or how long it will take to build)
  • Why you believe it is important to have this project in Juneau
  • Information from your interview, including the name and position of the person you interviewed.


  • What the most difficult part of your project was
  • What the most interesting thing you learned was
  • What new mathematical knowledge you gained
  • What you learned about yourself by completing the project
  • How you would improve it if you did the project again
  • Some reference to the information you learned during your interview

B. Visuals:

Some kind of visual that relates to your project. This could be

  • photos
  • pictures off the Internet
  • blueprints
  • diagrams
  • drawings
  • video
  • Three dimensional models count as visuals, but are not required.

C. Data (exported from Excel):

  • A budget
  • circle graph

3. Presentation: You will present your project to the class for part of your grade, so you should practice your presentation. You will be graded on whether you included all the elements above and the following:

  • Spoke in a clear, audible voice
  • Pointed out information from your PowerPoint as you spoke
  • Didn't just read each PowerPoint slide, but instead used the text as an outline and presented the audience with more detail or explanations
  • Shared each of your categories by naming them, telling how much you spent for each category, not the items, and gave an example of an item in each category.
  • Asked if there were any questions
  • Thanked the audience

4. You will also need to turn in:

A. Interview Notes

  • Write-up of interview notes with expert(s), including your questions and the expert's responses.

B. Category Accounting Sheets.

  • You must have at least five (5) major categories ("major" means there are at least three items included on the list) and you may have a Miscellaneous category. You will use this information to create your budget and graph on your PowerPoint presentation. You may either turn in worksheets you filled out in pencil/pen or printed worksheet pages from your spreadsheet.

C. Total of Major Categories Accounting Sheet.

  • You must come as close as possible to one million dollars without going over. You may not put any money into savings, and you may not use the money to take out a loan to get more money. You should plan to have the project operate for a year. You will use this information to create your budget and graph on your PowerPoint presentation. You may either turn in worksheets you filled out in pencil/pen or printed worksheet pages from your spreadsheet.

D. Conversion of your PowerPoint presentation into web pages

  • You will need to save your PowerPoint presentation as a set of web pages saved onto a JSD server. If you have written permission to publish on the Internet, your Million Dollar Project will be on display on the Internet for the entire world to view.

5. Video of your presentation

  • If we have parental permission, we will be taking video of you presenting your PowerPoint slide show and hopefully displaying that at JSD EL Project Fair in May.

Time Line We are very fortunate to have access to the new computers in the library every day during reading, so most of the work on this project will be able to be done at school. Students are encouraged to do additional research at home. The interview needs to be done outside of class time.

Week One: Project Overview. Your teacher will go over these expectations and present a sample Million Dollar Project presentation, hopefully teaching you how to effectively present information to an audience, using PowerPoint as a visual aid. You need to discuss with your parents what topic would be appropriate for you. Read over and write down any questions about these instructions. (February 20 - 27, 2007)

Week Two: Beginning the Research: Using search tools and appropriate key words, begin researching your topic. Think about what you already know about the topic, what you don't know but want to know, and who might know that information. Bookmark in your web browser any URL's that you might want to return to or cite. Using the Million Dollar Project PowerPoint template, start fleshing out your project. (February 28 - March 6, 2007)

Week Three: Gathering Data. Continue finding information and filling in the Excel spreadsheet with different worksheet pages for each category. Your teacher will show you how to format your document with different worksheet pages for each major category, a category summary worksheet, and a worksheet with your pie chart. You will also learn how to write some simple formulas to do your calculations. Here is a sample Excel spreadsheet for this project. Set up your interview, if you haven't already! Decide what visuals your proposal needs and plan for acquiring them. (March 12-16, 2007)

Make sure you have considered each of the following categories:
• Construction Labor
• Construction Materials
• Land Purchase or Rent
• Shipping and/or Transportation Costs

• Ongoing Labor
• Consummable Supplies
• Utilities (phone, heat, electricity, cable, Internet, sewer, water, etc.)
• Insurance
• Advertisement/Public Relations
• Taxes (unless your project is Not For Profit)

Week Four: Continue Working and Proofreading. This may be the time when you have to reduce the scope/size of the project, so that it can be finished on time! Continue talking to your parents about the project. You should be finished with your interview, and including information from the interview in your proposal. (March 19-23, 2007)

Week Five: Bringing it Together and Applying Principles of Design: By now you should have all the information you need in hand, so that we can quickly convert it, using PowerPoint and Excel, into your presentation. Whatever extras such as artwork or models should be under construction by now so you'll have time to complete them. You will be reminded about the principles of design, including:

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment
  • Proximity

(April 2-6, 2007)

Week Six: Getting Ready to Present. We will review the presentation expectations in the rubric below. Students who have finished their PowerPoint slide show and Excel spreadsheets will have the opportunity to practice presenting their proposals and make adjustments for timing. (April 9-13, 2007)

Week Seven: Presentations. Our entire fifth grade EL class will be the audience for the Million Dollar Project presentations. Students will be videotaped giving their presentations. (April 16-20, 2007)

Week Eight : Reflection and Extentions. Students will complete a brief reflection on their own and their classmates presentations. If there is time, we will embed the video of the presentations into the slide shows and/or convert the slide shows into web pages. (April 23-27, 2007)

Grading Rubric
Component Area (Concerned with Progress) (In Progress) (Meets) (Exceeds)
Content Relevance No positive impact on the lives of Juneau residents. Project would improve the lives of a few people in Juneau. Project would substantially improve the lives of some people in Juneau. Project would substantially improve the lives of many people in Juneau.
Content Information •missing key information

•off topic

missing a few minor required elements. Everything on checklist addressed Everything on checklist addressed in depth
Content Budget Total less than $900,000 or more than $1,000,000 $900,000-
$999,000 - $1,000,000

Exactly $1,000,000

Content Budget Prices Pricing shows no research Most prices are reasonable, some are questionable Prices are reasonable
•Prices are reasonable
•Sources of prices are given
Content Budget Categories • items are on one worksheet
• incomplete totals
• All items are on one worksheet, with totals Five major categories and a categories summary, each with their own worksheet •Each worksheet page is labeled
Content Spreadsheet Formulas Totals are typed in cell, rather than using formula Minor errors in formulas (missing a few rows, etc.) Correct usage of multiplication and addition formulas Addition formula use colons rather than listing each cell
Content Circle Graph No circle graph • Circle graph of individual items rather than category totals. Circle graph of the major categories, created in spreadsheet, imported into slide show. Labels and percentages or dollar amounts displayed Circle graph is resized in slide show so that it is easy to read
(Slide Show)
Contrast Most of slide show is hard to read text due to lack of contrast Some slides may be hard to read due to lack of contrast Throughout document:
• easy to read text; strong contrast
Contrast used highlights important information
(Slide Show)
Alignment • No regard to alignment

• Overuse of center justification

Slight variations from alignment to fit in text Simple lines of alignment throughout document Clear, crisp alignment looks stylish and easy to read
(Slide Show)
Repetition • transitions, font, sounds, and/or text size vary for no purpose • Slight variations to text size to fit in text and/or images

• slides maintain the same theme throughout

Use of repetition (font, size, theme, transitions) augments presentation
(Slide Show)
Proximity • items presented in seemingly random order • items clustered • presentation follows a logical sequence One slide naturally leads to the next slide
•no confusion on where in presentation you are
(Slide Show)
Word use •wordy (too many words or points on slide) AND
•no slide titles
• Slides too wordy


• missing slide titles

All of these:
• appropriate title for each slide

• limited bullets

All of these:
•Appropriate title
•limited bullets
•each bulleted item presented one-at-a-time
(Slide Show)
Graphics text only generic clip art or photos that don't add information to the presentation carefully selected photos, graphs, tables, drawings, &/or diagrams 3D Model of project
Presentation Speaking Voice • monotone, boring
• panic
• weird, distracting sounds
• pace too fast or slow to understand
Generally good, with a few minor distracting features •clear, pleasant
•loud enough to be easily understood
•good inflection
•normal pace
Pleasant, easy to understand, able to adjust voice based on body language of audience.
Presentation Body • rocking or excessive shifting
• slouching
• touching face or neck excessively
Sits for most of presentation (unless medically necessary) • good eye contact
• points out items of interest on visuals
• smiles
"Meets" plus:

Receptive body language during questions and comments

Presentation On Topic • talks (paragraph or more) about things not related to topic Mentions items not related to presentation • stays on topic
• brings off-topic questions back onto topic
Able to keep entire audience on topic with grace and authority
Presentation Length •Shorter than four minutes or
•longer than 18 minutes (exclusive of questions)
4-5 minutes


15-18 minutes

•5-15 minutes, exclusive of questions •5-15 minutes, presentation so thorough that very few questions remain.
Presentation Response to Questions Student unable to answer questions about key required elements of project Student able to answer some reasonable questions about topic •Student was able to fully answer all reasonable questions
•Student was able to fully answer all reasonable questions
•Student demonstrates that he/she has thought about many aspects of project
Audience Attentive Listening Disruptive behavior that interferes with presentation, such as:
• talking, or whispering loudly enough to be heard in front of room,
•movement that is ongoing or distracting
•Student shares occasional side comments with neighbors

•Student asks questions out of turn

Student watches & listens to presenter and slide show, diverting attention only long enough to jot down notes •Student watches & listens to presenter and slide show, diverting attention only long enough to jot down notes

•Positive body language that encourages presenter (smiling, body facing presenter, sitting up with good posture, nodding appropriately)

Audience Questioning, Suggestions & Compliments • Student asks "red herring" questions

• insincere compliments

Student asks questions that were clearly addressed in presentation Student asks questions about missing elements, unclear concepts, etc. Student asks insightful questions that help presenter improve their presentation
Habits of Work Timeliness Final Product not finished by final due date. Final product finished and turned in on or before due dates. All products finished and turned in on or before intermediate and final due dates All products finished and turned in before intermediate and final due dates
Habits of Work Completes Work Incomplete items available in student area on the server. Finished items are clearly labeled and available in student area on the server. The following items are turned in:
•Printed Excel spreadsheets
•Printed copy of PowerPoint slides (2-6 per page)
•interview notes
•Required items turned in, plus extra supporting documents
Habits of Work Initiative Avoided:
• Research
• Interview
• Asking for timely help
With a lot of adult help:
•Researched who to interview
•Set up and conducted interview
With a little adult help:
•Researched who to interview
•Set up and conducted interview
•promptly wrote up notes from interview
On own:
•Researched who to interview
•Set up and conducted interview
•promptly wrote up notes from interview

Useful Internet Sites:

  • General Research:
    • Google (General web searching)

PowerPoint Slide Shows

Excel Databases

  • Sample spreadsheet with worksheets for each of the five major categories, category totals, and a pie chart (budget for a class party)
Sheryl Hall Wittig ~ Page last updated on Tuesday, March 13, 2007.