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California Research paper ideas


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My dd grade 10 just started taking one class at CC. It is a California History course. She is assigned an 8 page research paper with anything having to do with California.


Any ideas? She wants to do a paper on the California Grizzly Bear and how it became the State "animal"


Any other interesting ideas a 16 year old might like to do??

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Water issues. That's one of the most interesting, semi-obscure things about CA history.


Early miners fought over water rights because so many mines had no access to natural sources of running water, pictures of gold panners notwithstanding. The Mono Lake issues and history might be a good way to organize some of the more modern water issues. Currently we basically have our biggest population centers completely dependent on remote water sources--fundamentally unstable, in any sane view that includes earthquake propensities. And our reserves for the Mediteranean climate (meaning essentially no precipitation for 3-5 months of the year) that comprises most of those centers are held in snowpacks, not behind dams. If global warming makes the snow melt, on average, a month earlier than it does now, which the data tends to support, then we will have severe water shortages during the dry months.

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I suggest she check with the instructor to see if her idea about the grizzly bear is what the teacher expects. A research paper at the college level usually needs a thesis that is then discussed and proven in the paper. Her idea about the grizzly bear sounds more like a report. Having her verify her topic with the instructor will make sure she is working at the expected level.


She may want to change her topic to be more about the grizzly bear and its meaning to CA, and its population during the 1800s to today, effects of population on its territory, etc.


I like the water idea. CA is in a bad situation with water management.


Other possible topics:


Effects of immigration on agriculture


The trans-continental railroad and its effects on population in CA or the economy of CA


The CA native Americans and the missions. Interesting tidbit: The Spaniards set up missions throughout Mexico, instructing the native Americans there. When they got to CA, they found that the native Americans in CA were mostly still hunter/gatherers, lower level of society than people in Mexico, and they had to change their methods of instruction to teach them agricultural skills. She could analyze the effect this had on the length of time the native Americans tended to spend at the missions and the effects of this new information and skills on the tribes themselves.


The effects of the gold rush on the Civil War.


Immigration and the gold rush


Farming and water management in the central valley over the past 100 years, problems and solutions.

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I appreciate your replies. My daughter just turned 16 and has never done a formal research paper. Niether have I for that matter! LOL


So I don't know what we are going to do. However I did take out many books at our local library on her "bear idea" and they have a lot of great info we can use. So although it may sound elementary, her teacher did give his approval and I think we are going to go with it.

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