Most of the time, students are happy to receive an A on an assignment. But in special cases, there’s a student who goes above and beyond the scope of the project, and submits something so good that the teacher’s grading system doesn’t even do it justice.
These teachers were left speechless by a student’s work on a class project. It’s almost scary how smart these kids are!
[Source listed at the end of the article.]
“I’m not a teacher, but a friend and I received more than 100 on a project in Chemistry. We were instructed to create a periodic table of the elements, to several different specifications, including a key. Our teacher said we could work with a partner, but if we did, we would have to split the points.
My friend and I hand-embroidered squares of fabric with the chemical symbol, chemical name, atomic number, atomic weight, and other details. We used a variety of fabrics (the noble gasses were embroidered on white fabric with black polkadots) and sewed them all together into a quilt. My friend sewed a pillow for the key.
We received 400 points total. So, when we split them we each earned 200.”
(1/2) “The assignment for my 11th-graders was to design an office for a small business. Students had to select the hardware (workstations, printers, network equipment etc.), make a sketch for how the network would be set up and then make a sales pitch to me, the ‘client.’
Most students chose the easy way with pre-built hardware and some went more indepth with custom builds for most things. Their sketches were mostly top-down views of the office with lines going from computers to switches to routers. This was sufficient.”
(2/2) “One student however made a very detailed 3D model of the office using the program Sketchup. It had everything: doors, windows, baseboards, every piece of hardware and a raised floor for the cables.
He also made a complete diagram for the cables, showing where each ethernet cable from all the equipment went. The workstations, servers, switches and routers were all custom builds. He even divided the workstations into groups and gave them different network rules. He basically designed an entire, usable office space that he could have submitted to a client and been paid a lot of money for.
That kid is going places.”
(1/2) “I got the exact opposite of this from a teacher once when I was in second grade. We were doing reports on different historical figures and I had chosen Amelia Earhart.
We were encouraged to do anything we wanted to make the report interesting, so I wrote two pages front and back about her life, history, stuff she did outside of flying, etc.
And then I came to class in costume as Earheart. I had the leather bomber jacket, the pants, an exact replica of the pilot hat and goggles she wore, everything. Everyone else in my class basically just turned in a couple of paragraphs, and even my classmates were amazed by how much work I put into the project.”
(2/2) “My teacher gave me a 99%. I would have been fine with this but some of my classmates, on hearing the announced score, actually demanded to know why I didn’t get 100 because I had gone so far above and beyond.
The teacher’s response: ‘I don’t give 100’s, because no one is perfect.’
The fact that I still remember that incident so clearly almost 30 years later probably says how fair that felt to me.”
“My 7th graders just wrote a fictional narrative story, intended to be a short story. This was a culminating paper at the end of a unit. I did not give a length requirement, just that it needed all parts of a plot.
One girl wrote an interesting, suspenseful, well-written story.
It was 58 PAGES long!!”
“My friend and I misread the instructions for a project in English in high school. We were supposed to draw modern outfits for characters in the Shakespeare play King Lear but we thought we had to make the outfits.
We took Barbie dolls and bought fabric and sewed 5 different outfits to put on the dolls. It took us 2 weeks to finish. I still feel silly when I think back on that one.”
“I had just moved back to middle school after teaching high school for a few years and hadnt fully gauged what was doable and impossible for most students yet. I gave them a bit of a pre-assessment to see what we needed to work on and such.
One of the questions asked them to ‘draw an inference’ from a few pieces of a story. They were supposed to provide their interpretation in essay form, but the number of actual pieces of artwork I saw while grading tests was at first head-shaking and then kind of hilarious.
One student actually drew an incredibly detailed and accurate answer to the question, which asked about the theme of the story. He used no words, just a vivid drawing of the characters surrounded by symbols and arrows connecting them. I felt I had no choice but to give him full credit for it and a point or two of extra credit for being so creative. He answered it in a way that was more difficult than actually using words.”
“High School Biology teacher here. My 12th grade students were asked to complete an Extended Experimental Investigation on any topic.
This one student chose to do hers on bird populations and habitat distribution. She spent weeks collecting data in the field and produced a draft report that was so good that I had difficulty advising her on how to improve for the final.
After she submitted it and received an A+ I suggested she apply to have it published in an Ornithological journal. She did and they accepted it, making her my first student to be published while still at high school. I am so proud.”
“I had a 2nd grader research, demonstrate and write a 5-page report on Fibonacci numbers. I was completely amazed by the kid all year long and how hard he worked. His teacher this year cannot be bothered to push him and he’s already starting to hate school because he’s bored.”
(1/2) “I learned a life lesson about picking your battles when I was in high school.
The project in math class was to take a given amount of poster paper and build the largest 3-dimensional geometrical object possible with that amount of paper. The second-best entry took maybe 2 hours to make. One team put theirs together during the break period immediately prior to class. I lead my team, and we worked for 40 hours on our object.
We chose an icosahedron (a 20-sided die). With a little math, I used a small bit of the paper to design and build a tiny model of the object so we could build a massive version. I had the teacher’s husband cut up some balsa wood for me to create a frame for our huge 20-sided object.
We glued the wood and paper together, making a solid object. Then we taped each edge, put in the numbers 1-20 (in the correct order) and painted the entire thing.”
(2/2) “In the end, the object was double the size of what the second-place team created. It was so over-the-top that the teacher asked to keep it to show off to future students.
What was our reward for all this work? We got a 103% on the project and several other teams got 100%.
So if you are going to put forth extra effort, then make sure the the reward is worth the effort. Then again, I guess it’s pretty cool that we actually built that thing, kind of a reward in itself.”
“In my sixth grade class, the assignment was to re-design the packaging for a product of their choice.
One student chose to do a brand of organic soap. She re-designed the packaging, tracked down the factory of the original product (they were a local small business), and worked with their design team to actually manufacture their package.
The marketing team was so impressed with her initiative that they actually used it for a limited-edition run of the soap.
The day came to turn in the project and I said ‘Holly, wheres your assignment?’ And she said, ‘Aisle 12 of the drug store.'”
“I just read about a Danish student that was doing an assignment for history class about a battle that occurred near his house during World War Two.
He decided to go out in a field where part of the battle occurred to see if he could perhaps find remnants from any of the warplanes that went down during the battle. He assumed the Germans would have come and taken them after they went down, so he only hoped to find little bits and pieces. Lo and behold, using a metal detector he and his dad dug for it and found the entire plane complete with skeletons inside.
I would say that’s above and beyond!”
(1/2) “We were partnered up, in Grade 12 history, to rewrite the lyrics of the Beatles song ‘Revolution’ to make it about the Russian revolution. We also had to design an album cover. Then we had to present it by singing our parody song in front of the class.
My partner and I completely rewrote the song, but managed to keep everything entirely on beat. No extra syllables on anything. We kept some parts of the original that fit with the new theme, but it was very much a different song.
We found the measurements for a record, then used them and some cardstock to actually make a record cover (that would have actually fit a record inside). It was full-color, with the name of a band and album (We called it ‘Red and White’ by our made-up band, The Red Stripes). On the back was a list of 10 or so song titles that would have been on the album, all titled following the same theme of the Russian Revolution.”
(2/2) “Everyone else in the class had a single sheet of paper for their album cover, one side, some were not colored in. Their parody songs were not as close to the original beat, and were often not as accurate as to what happened. It was a disaster listening to it all.
My partner and I practiced the parody so well we didn’t have to look at our lyrics to sing it, even with the original ‘Revolution’ playing at the same time.
When we got our rubrics back, it just said ‘How could I not? 100%’ at the top. Nothing else had notes on it.”
“Not a teacher but, in 8th grade we were doing a book about the Great Depression and we had the choice of doing 2 of 9 projects given to us.
One kid thought all of it was too simple and just decided to write a 100-page alternative screenplay based on the book with action directions and stuff. I’m not sure if the teacher even read the play though.”
“I asked for students to create something that demonstrated Newtons laws of motion. Some were cool, like a slingshot, but this one kid who was typically an underachiever went above and beyond and made a balloon-powered car!”
“I’m not a teacher but a guy who got a 100% grade. In high school, I took drama 1 in my sophomore year. The second week of school, we had to do a lip sync to a song of our choice. We were graded on the accuracy of our lyrics, commitment to the singing/dancing, entertainment value, and maybe one or two other things. I was on the water polo and swim team and really lean, and of course owned a Speedo.
So I did an exotic dance to Bloodhound Gangs’ ‘Bad Touch.’ I definitely committed to it. Our teacher wrote about a half-page of feedback for everyone that did the assignment. Not me. All I got was a 100% and a single sentence: ‘Probably the less I say, the better.'”
“Student here. We had to make a movie that was a comedic re-telling of The Odyssey in high school, right when iMovie first got popular.
Our group was all-girls and we got really into it, shooting for an entire weekend across town, using a family dog and dressing it up as the Cyclops, adding in the ‘pew pew’ Star Wars shooting effects. We tried our best and made a pretty darn funny 5 minute video.
Our teacher was so impressed she continually showed it as an example for the next few years and we got a straight up 100 on it.”
“In 5th grade, we read this book called Island of the Blue Dolphins. Afterwards, we were assigned to write a short paragraph imagining what happened after the main character Karana left the island.
Well, I had already read this book a year or two prior, and I thought the ending was silly. So instead of a paragraph, I wrote extra three chapters, starting with Karana jumping off the boat again.
My teacher actually called my mother to talk about my creative writing skills. Apparently, I had written the additional chapters in the same tone and style as the author and that was unusual for a 10 year old. This teacher actually followed up with me well into high school to make sure I was still writing.
Meanwhile, I just thought Karana should never have left her darn island.”
“Not a teacher, but something I did that went beyond the scope of the project. It was 8th grade music class and our music teacher told us to choose a song and then, after listening to it, write out what we hear without using traditional music notes or scales. Most of my classmates used dots and dashes for their songs to mark out the beats of the song they chose. Most of them chose short, 2-3 minute songs.
I basically took the instructions literally and tried my best to draw out EXACTLY what I heard. I chose an instrumental piece that was about 5 minutes long, giving each instrument a different color and shape, and then drawing out each instrument’s part, making sure that each part was drawn to match up exactly where it was amidst the other instruments’ parts for every second of the song. The whole thing was spread out across 10 pages of horizontal A4 paper and took 3 days.
I was one of two people that got an A+ for that project.”
“So, my parents were always the parents that got overly involved in my school projects. Whether it was drawing the art way too well, or making 40 homemade pizzas for my Wolfgang Puck project, either I was a child genius or my parents were involved.
The clear worst offender was when in 7th or 8th grade we read a book called The Pushcart Wars and were required to make a shoebox pushcart. Well of course my dad, being into woodworking, decided that it would make sense to make a full sized working wooden pushcart together and to document the process.
So of course I showed up on the day of the presentation with a fully working push cart food and all, and a totally not suspicious binder with pictures documenting me ‘building it myself.’ I don’t think my teacher bought it, but I got an A.“
“I teach high school History and asked my students to do an essay on the city of Troy during the Trojan War.
Some kid made an actual Trojan Horse out of popsicle sticks and put inside of it a very well-written essay about Greek solders during the Trojan War.”
“Im the student, but in sophomore year, my Chinese language and culture teacher said anyone would be exempt from the final at the end of senior year if they went to China during the semester. I ended up transferring out of the school and resigned myself to the fact that I would take an extremely intense final at the end of 4 years of Chinese study.
Fast forward to the end of senior year. I single-handedly raised enough money from donors for myself, my teacher, and some classmates to go to Taiwan. While on the trip I came to find out my teacher was friends with my previous Chinese teacher and that he knew of her promise to reward a student who travelled to China, having suggested it to her. In all of his years of teaching, no one had ever followed through before.
He honored the automatic 100 on my final, and gave me 15 extra credit points. I ended the year with 110% in Chinese.”
“In history class during my junior year of high school, we had to make up a country and give it an anthem, a flag, etc. The project was clearly below Junior level, so my friend and I treated it as a joke and made a country called ‘Thirasty’ (just like Hungary).
The country’s only source of water was cacti juice, which happened to be very stinky. Our anthem had the lyrics, ‘Here in Thirasty, we will always be, looking for a drink, everybody stinks, smelling like a skunk, till all the cacti juice is drunk.’ The teacher was insulted because she thought it was a serious assignment for a 16 year old and we got a 0% on the project.'”
“We had to create a dystopian society for English while in high school. Or as my buddies and I decided, a left-handed utopia. All the other groups did basically the same idea. We were the different ones and did not take the project seriously at all.
We had to create names for our characters, so we used horrible puns. We had a wonderfully drawn propaganda poster, and a list of all the rules. Our idea was simply, left-handed people now rule to world! (All group members were southpaws and loved the idea.)
I remember our teacher came to ask if we needed any help with our world building, heard our character names, turned around a walked away. She even said we had the most creative world.”
These comments have been edited for clarity.