Next up in a growing line of project based research and presentations that are based around social studies will be the schools 5th grade Social Studies Fair. I've been doing the social studies fair for my entire career, and this is the first year that my colleagues in 5th grade will be joining me for this great project.
We've already done two presentation based projects this year, the 50 States Presentation, and the just finished Famous Individual Presentation. Both projects involve a ton of research and synthesis, and the major burden of work and learning on these projects falls on the shoulders of the students. These are great because while I consider them "social studies," they involve reading and writing, and are multi-disciplinary to the point that I had students working on them at all different times during the school day.
I am again going to ask students to cite sources and complete a bibliography in the APA format. I had a few parents who looked at me like I was crazy when I told them that their children would be completing APA reference pages, but they have done them, and done them correctly, so we're moving forward. I have already posted some great Research Project Resources that can get any teacher started with having students research appropriately and go the extra mile in documenting their research in any area.
This project mimics the presentations that students all over the world do for Science Fairs. Students will be purchasing a science tri-fold board, and either working alone or with a partner to complete their project board.
This project was left pretty open ended. First, I explained the emphasis of this project, either history, culture, invention, geography, or ideas. Students were not allowed to do a state, the cultures we have already studied, or any famous individual that was researched for the last project. Topics range from the history and evolution of computers to research about Pearl Harbor. I make it a point to push students in the direction of topics that aren't too broad, but not too obscure, they need to be able to find sources out there.
When the day comes for the presentations, students will be setting up, again in Science Fair format. We'll set up all the poster boards, and will invite guest to join us. Other classes from the school, parents, the community, and dignitaries will be invited to view their great work. Each student or pair of students will create some note cards to guide them in the presentations they will be making numerous times on the day of the Social Studies Fair.
I have included photos of two poster boards done last year. I will post some of the ones that will be done this year (we just began work today), they should be a little more in depth than what I had my students do in previous years.
Finally (and what 99% of you are here for), I have the documents for download:
SOCIAL STUDIES FAIR PROJECT (pdf): This document is what we're using. If you like what you see, I recommend downloading all of these documents in the zip file below so that you can modify it in any way you see fit.
SOCIAL STUDIES FAIR PROJECT ZIP FILE (this file contains all the pages of the above pdf in .doc format.
Please check back around the second week of December when I will post some of the students finished work and pictures from the social studies fair.