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Teacher Guide to the History Fair

This section is for teachers who are interested in starting the History Fair in their schools and for veteran teachers who are looking for ways to improve or revise their current practices. Additional tools and activities may be found at HISTORY HELPERS. Your comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome!

History Fair meets many State Goals and Learning Standards of the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition, it meets all the APPLICATIONS OF LEARNING promoted by the ISBE:

· SOLVING PROBLEMS: Recognize and investigate problems; formulate and propose solutions supported by reason and evidence. History Fair promotes the inquiry approach to learning history. Students formulate a question they have about the past and employ research, analytical (comparison/contrast, inference, etc.), using evidence, and creating an argument. They also learn and apply metacognitive and time management skills.

· COMMUNICATING: Express and interpret information and ideas. Students communicate the results of their historical inquiry through a variety of media: research papers, exhibits, live performances, video documentaries, and computer slide presentations.

· USING TECHNOLOGY: Use appropriate instruments, electronic equipment, computers and networks to access information, process ideas and communicate results. By doing a History Fair project students become adept at using computers to research information from the Internet (be it WWW, computer-based catalogs, or electronic sources). They use word processing and bibliographic programs, and depending on the type of project, they may utilize video/digital recorders, media editing software, and scanners.

· WORKING IN TEAMS: Learn and contribute productively as individuals and as members of groups. History Fair students have the opportunity to work in groups (except those doing research papers) to gain experience in taking a collaborative approach to problem-solving, sharing ideas, creating a division of labor, and managing time.

· MAKING CONNECTIONS: Recognize and apply connections of important information and ideas within and among learning areas. History Fair challenges students to "Tell a story and tell why it's important." To accomplish this, students must gather and make the connections among a wide array of sources, determine social, economic, political, and historical contexts, and distinguish cause and effect, and change over time. They link local history to U.S. history, the present to the past.