Characteristics Of History Fair Projects PDF Print E-mail

History Fair projects typically fall into three different categories. By learning how to identify the characteristics of their projects, students will be better equipped to revise and improve them at each level of the academic competitions.

Historical Argument: This superior project begins with a clear thesis or claim, and then develops its argument through step-by-step use of primary and secondary sources as evidence. It grapples with complexity and the multiplicity of factors involved in any historical topic. It reveals the way society develops, how and why things change, and the political, social, economic and cultural factors involved. It also situates the topic in its historical context and within the context of U.S. or world history. Finally, the project’s conclusion is more than a summary of the argument and evidence presented; it addresses the historical significance of the topic, what we learn about society and change, and, perhaps, implications for the present.

Typical Score: 90 to 100 points

Example of Typical Title:

"Hull House and the Labor Movement: How Progressives Helped Turn the Tide for Immigrant Workers"

Tell A Story: A project in this category is a major improvement from a "Collection of Facts," because has a narrow focus, offers a solid story or explanation, and demonstrates a high level of knowledge. What separates an excellent from a superior project is the need for an argument about why and how something happened (or didn’t), its impact and significance, and the larger historical context. Instead, the project tends to reflect an "appreciation" of a topic and may slide into such terms as "the only" or "the most important" or "changed everything." to justify its importance.

Typical Score: 75-88 points

Example of Typical Title:

"The Role of Hull House in the Labor Movement"

Collection of Facts: These projects consist of a series of pictures with descriptive captions that read like a tour guide or captions that are no more than lengthy timelines. Often, there is no uniting theme or logic to the order in which the topic is being presented. Often topics are overly broad, such as Chicago Architecture or Jane Addams. Instead, try to narrow the focus and pose a historical question that the project then attempts to answer.

Typical score: 70-75 points

Example of Typical Title:

"The Many Achievements of Jane Addams"


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