Not likely to be part of a standard curriculum, these not so ordinary topics could be developed into great unit studies or be used for reports (written research reports or essays, speeches, or visual presentations like PowerPoints or videos).
Some starting points:
Cryptology: Learn more about codemaking and codebreaking at CryptoKids. Read about the difference between codes and ciphers, how to make and break ciphers, and the history of cipher systems. A games and activities section has brainteasers, cryptograms, and other puzzles to solve. In addition, learn more about crpytography - from ancient hidden messages to modern encryption - with this series of videos from Khan Academy.
Sufferin’ Succotash: Who are the voices behind the most well-known cartoon characters of the past and today? Starting with Walt Disney, this voice-over chart gives you the rundown. What a cool way to earn a living.
Fashion Fun A – Z: Unit study ideas for incorporating and practicing research and presentation skills while studying the world of fashion. Some of the suggestions include: researching relaxing clothes from the 1800s to now and do a presentation; list 20 words that are used only in the fashion industry and their meanings; follow clothes through the retail process, from design to factory to store racks.
SimpsonsMath: This site uses episodes from The Simpsons to help students understand math concepts. According to the site, "The Simpsons contains over a hundred instances of mathematics ranging from arithmetic to geometry to calculus, many designed to expose and poke fun at innumeracy."
The site includes an extensive guide to the math and mathematicians referenced on The Simpsons, a page highlighting the mathematical backgrounds of many of the show's writers, and activity sheets with math activities correlated to specific episodes.
Communicating with Images: Activities for learning about how images are used to tell a story, covering such topics as: framing a subject in a viewfinder; photographic composition and "rule of thirds;" basic shot composition; camera angles; and image elements.
How New Words Are Added to the English Language: This interesting article outlines the different ways words become part of the English language. Some are borrowed from other languages, some are truncated to form new words, others are fused together, etc.
History of Marketing: This is a detailed timeline infographic featuring the history of marketing from 1450 to 2012. Lots of information here on how the emergence of new technology has affected marketing. May be a useful starting point for a report on a particular era, or to take a small chunk of information and create one's own graphic.
Haunted History of 7 American Landmarks: A roundup of ghost stories relating to well-known landmarks, including specters roaming the Smithsonian Institution; sightings of apparitions at the Hollywood sign; and a phantom ship passing beneath the Golden Gate.