School History Project Ideas

Students in a history classroom.
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Creating an engaging history project can make learning challenging, fun and memorable. Consider a variety of project types, some classic and some incorporating technology, when delving into a historical topic. Always consider your audience and strive to create a finished product that conveys what you've learned and passes the knowledge on.

1 Write a Research Paper

The research paper is the time-tested staple of most history classes. Many state education standards require that students synthesize their knowledge of a subject through the use of several reliable sources and compare the causes and effects of similar concepts throughout history. Choose a topic that interests you and that has been written about extensively. For example, write a report that compares the rights of individuals under different rulers and types of government, such as comparing the Magna Carta, the American Bill of Rights and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

2 Film a Documentary

With video production more accessible to students via grants and increased school technology budgets and because of less-expensive digital technology, filming and producing a top-quality documentary is an achievable task. Choose a topic that lends itself to visual reporting, such as one that has living primary sources. For instance, if you are researching the experience of American soldiers in recent wars, veterans may be available for on-camera interviews. Unique touches like this can lend an air of quality and credibility that is harder to achieve through still photos and voice-overs.

3 Create a Website

A website allows you to present material in a variety of formats, including written text, photographs and video. If you're researching the history of American football, for instance, you can dedicate one page to how the rules of the game have changed over the years. An additional page can hold clips from legendary games from specific decades. Finally, you can post photographs and brief biographies of recent Hall of Fame inductees. Several site providers offer free Web hosting and easy-to-use development tools.

4 Plan a Field Trip

If your teacher allows it, you can plan a field trip for your project. For example, California's state social studies standards require 10th graders to understand the use of natural resources in an industrial economy. You might arrange and plan a trip to a local power plant, such as a hydropower plant, solar farm or wind farm. Before visiting the facility, research the local history of the plant along with the region's reliance on different types of energy, both historically and how energy will be sourced in the future. While on location, interview representatives from the power supplier and ask informed questions about power supply and demand. After the trip, present a debriefing activity such as a paper or exhibit to fellow classmates.