History Helpers support students' efforts to become active "producers" of history rather than passive consumers:
Finding & Using Sources
Historians rely on plenty of primary sources and key secondary sources to which they will "unpack", or closely analyze, for the clues about the past. Spend time learning how to approach research. Use the worksheets for analyzing primary sources and secondary sources, sample guides from archives, and links to other sources give to deepen and widen research the journey.
Forget about the Internet for a moment: Where do students find the large and small historical collections in the metro area which may yield treasures for their research? Libraries are only one source for great material. This directory lists the historical societies and race/ethnic/immigrant-based organizations that collect sources on their community. Each listing offers contact information, and when available, the organization's
website. Get out in the community and tap into the collections and people who have a lot to offer the student historian!
Oh yes, the Internet. Historians may now gain access to collections that before were available only through a personal visit. The key is to approach the Internet strategically and locate the best sources for a history project. This guide offers tips and rubrics on smart use of the Internet: how to decipher a URL and evaluate a website for its credibility, properly cite websites in bibliographies--and find excellent websites for
primary sources on Chicago history.
Legal Research for Chicago History Fair Students
The History Fair is an excellent opportunity to explore how the legal system offers both support and obstacles for individuals. By using this guide and asking for help, if needed, students can have fun finding cases of historical importance that were started by people in Chicago.
Tips for Contacting Scholars
Historians, archivists, and other experts can be fantastic resources for History Fair students if students prepare well before making contact. The more work you put into preparing your project before you write or call the scholar, the more likely you are to receive a response and get the type of assistance for which you are searching.
Research for and analysis of primary and secondary sources are conducted to help answer a student's historical question. The student will develop a thesis--an argument--based on the interpretation of those sources. Find activities, rubrics, worksheets, and link to websites to support the most crucial part of doing history.
The Final Product
Student historians present their work in articles, exhibits, documentaries, and performances. Find tips and guidelines to create projects that effectively and imaginatively communicate students' interpretations.
Here are some rubrics and guides to avoid the embarrassing and sometimes damaging practice of using another historian's words without giving proper credit.
CMHEC sells material to support the History Fair experience. In addition, books, multimedia , clippings files, and primary sources are available for student or teacher use in our office.