Layout Content Tips for School Projects

Think of a school project, to be displayed in a flip file, as a real book. What do you find in a book, and which books are easier to read than others? Books that have a good layout are neat, easy to read, and more enjoyable. People studying a book will find it easier to learn, and understand the contents of the book, if the contents are not cluttered, or confusing.

The Cover of the project

It is often best to leave the decorating or designing of the cover of your project until last – a proud last effort at portraying what hard work you’ve done inside – and doing the cover later, once all the main work is done, will give you a better understanding of how best to portray your subject (on the cover.

Inside:

Keep all writing or typed text on one side, let’s say the right hand side, and all drawings, maps, pictures etc on the left. If not too many images are required, leave the left hand side blank (just insert plain white paper – or whatever colour typing paper you are using throughout the project.)

The inside of the cover (the very first page on the left) should be left blank, and on the right should be merely the title of the project and the creator or author’s name and school grade, and the year, neatly centred perhaps, from top and bottom of the page too.

Right, let’s turn the page:

on the left, blank
on the right, your contents page – where it is not really necessary to list the page numbers of the images all appearing on the left hand side pages, but merely the right hand side pages (the text) can be given page numbers – or feel free to add page numbers for the images too, just be sure to keep everything neat and organized! (and to mention that those images listed on the contents page are images by saying things like “map of” or “photo of” or “graph of or “sketch of”.)

Turn the page:
On the left is an “overall” image, graph, or map (a sort of summary of what the main topic of the project is about), and on the right is page 1, the introduction. In the introduction discuss what the project is about, even dividing the introduction up into categories, if the project’s content calls for it.

Turn the page, to:
Blank white on the left, and page 2 on the right
Let’s say this project is split into four parts for example 4 different traditional African musical instruments; page 2 (where we are now) would say for example “Kaganu Drum” and beneath this heading it would say “Musical instrument category: Membranophones” and beneath that it would say, all neatly underneath each other:
country of origin
physical description
traditional use
interesting facts
And that’s all that is to appear on this page, neat and uncluttered.

The next 4 pages (double pages with image on left and text on right) will obviously be for the information and pictures related to the 4 sub headings listed above – country of origin, physical description, traditional use, and interesting facts, then, repeat everything again for the next 3 instruments, just changing the heading and musical instrument category eg, the page before you start on the 4 sections (double pages) of text and images for the Kora African musical instrument would look like this:

Kora
category: chordophones
country of origin
physical description
traditional use
interesting facts
(Blank page on the left)

At the end of the 4th musical instrument (which would be an image on the left and the text for “interesting facts” on the right, turn the page:

On the left, nothing, on the right, conclusion (what you now know after having done the project, what you enjoyed most about the project etc, and possibly a short summary (the moral of what you have learnt, or the way forward from here, for society (a solution etc)).

Turn over to blank on left and “index” on the right.

An index is a list of words, neatly below one another, that may not be known to many, or at least are the key words for the topic of the project – and next to each word write or type the page number where the word can be found, so that people can read it in a sentence or paragraph, to discover what it means.

If you want to be really fancy, add a glossary to the next right hand side page (leaving the left hand side neat and empty). A glossary is where you write a word or a phrase, and below it give a short (a line or two) definition or description of that word or phrase.

Then end off with your bibliography – list the titles of books you’ve used during your research, names and publication dates of any magazines, and the page numbers on which you found your information, or list full website page links – not just the homepage of the website, but all the page links on that website on which you found information you used in your project.

Lastly, never just copy and paste from the Internet, or write exactly what you see in a book or magazine – somebody took the trouble to write that information, and understood what they wrote about. Most pieces of writing are protected by copyright so you’re breaking copyright laws if you just copy and paste the work already done by somebody else. You also want to understand what your project is about, not just do it, so always write in your own words.