• All fourth, fifth, and sixth graders are required to do a Social Studies Project.
  • Projects are due:

  • Students will earn three letter grades for the project (appearance, presentation, and content).

  • The project board should be three sided and no longer than 36" wide and 30" deep.

  • NO POSTER BOARDS - use standard project boards or wood.

  • Project boards can be purchased in the Library from Mrs. Morris for $4.00.

  • Topics may be anything dealing with Social Studies - People, Places, Clubs, Events, and Holidays.

  • Helpful Hints:


Select a topic you are interested in.


Find 3 or 4 main ideas or points to stress.

Write a report about your topic.

Use visual aids- charts, graphs, models, etc.




The purpose for encouraging students to complete long term projects such as the social studies fair project is to give students the opportunity to research problems or explore a topic in a systematic scientific way. Another benefit of such a project is that they also require students to integrate and apply the skills they have learned in language arts, math, and social studies. Furthermore, such projects allow students the opportunity to express their curiosity, creativity, and ingenuity. The fact that competition is involved in the school fairs should not overshadow the basic reason for the project. The primary goal is student learning.

Table of Contents

Guidelines for Parental Involvement Three Types of Projects
Introduction The Research Report
Titles of Past Social Studies Fair Projects The Bibliography
Identification of Major Disciplines The Display
Noodle Tools Website Quick Cite MLA-style citation
Checklist Citation Machine

Guidelines for Parental Involvement

Long term projects such as the social studies fair project requires parental involvement. To help parents and students understand how much and what type of parental help is permitted, the following guidelines have been adopted:

1. Parents may type project backboard information and report from the child's handwritten final draft.

2. Parents can proofread a student's work, but corrections should be made by the child.

3. Computer generated graphs are not required and do not necessarily improve a student's chance of winning. They are permitted. However, the student must be involved in the process. Parents may guide students through the use of difficult computer programs. Students should make the final decisions about the graph type.

4. Artwork should be the work of the child.

5. The parent may assist the child in creating a visually appealing backboard. For example: help with measuring, cutting, pasting, hot gluing, and placement.

6. Topic selection should reflect the interests of the child.

7. Research, design, and implementation of experimental procedure should be completed by the student. The parent's role is to provide the resources and direction necessary.

8. The parent's role is to reinforce project guidelines established by the teacher.

Return to Table of Contents

Social Studies Fair Packet


Selecting your topic is often considered the most difficult step in doing a social studies fair project. Judges express that originality is the key element. Taking an old topic and adding a twist, or coming up with a brand new idea adds interest to your subject. Doing research involving a primary source vs. using encyclopedias and textbooks gives life to your topic.

Ideas for using primary sources would include:

  1. Interview a person for a first hand account of your topic. Use the tape recording as part of your display.

  2. Visit an expert on a craft or technique and learn what makes it unique; make a home video to display with your project.

  3. Select some of the folklore, types of unique industries, agriculture, architecture, festivals, food, music, or customs of this area, and bring back pamphlets, photographs, autographs, or samples for your backboard or display.

  4. Visit a historical site, and use the artifacts there to tell the story from the perspective of the children of the period. Try on clothes from another time and reproduce paper doll clothes of the period for your display.

Don't be afraid to use media other than print to get across your enthusiasm.

An attractive backboard, a research report, and a bibliography are essential to a winning presentation. Displays make the difference in showing your creativity.

Return to Table of Contents

Titles of Past Social Studies Fair Projects

Alternative Ranching in Louisiana
Drummer Boys from the Battlefields
My Family Tree
School Lunches Today: Are There Other Options
Locating and Building Duck Blinds
Poverty Point: Louisiana Native Americans in Prehistory
The Continental Drift Theory: Is It Still Valid?
Poverty in the United States
The Rex Connection: Mardi Gras in New Orleans
The Mystery Tat Boggles the Mind: Amelia Earhart
Immigrants in America
Recycle, Reduce, or Use It Up
Student Opinions About Garbage Disposal in St. Tammany Parish

Return to Table of Contents

Identification of Major Disciplines for Classification Purposes

Listed below are illustrations meant to be helpful and suggestive, not to be limiting or exhaustive. Sponsoring teachers should give careful guidance to students in helping them establish a framework from which to work. Sociology - Man lives in groups
Group living is the result of man's social needs. Group living necessitates cooperation within and between groups. Groups are constantly changing in nature and functions. Individual adjustment to group living is constantly necessary. Project examples include the family, crime, mental health, lifestyles, media, etc. Geography - Man and nature intereact
The management and utilization of the natural environment is a major problem of men. Man's natural environment is greatly diversified offering both opportunities and restrictions to man's activities. The natural environment provides both the setting and raw materials for man's activities and is in turn altered by man. Constant interaction between man and his environment takes place. The geographer studies both the physical and the cultural elements of the environment, as well as the interaction between the two. Examples include ecology, foreign countries, lands and peoples, maps, flooding, rivers, lakes, cities, conservation, etc. Economics - Man labors to satisfy human wants
Man utilizes his natural environment to satisfy his needs and wants. Man engages in the production of goods to satisfy his needs and wants. Man increases his material satisfaction by the exchange of goods and services. Mankind is faced by problems of changing economic methods and organizations . Examples are money, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, services, communication, inflation, stock exchange, Common Market, government budgets, etc. Anthropology - Culture is developed by men living and thinking together
Culture patterns differ widely among the people of the world. Each culture has different mores and folkways. Group culture is influenced by his/her culture in patterns of daily living. The human race has passed through many stages of cultural change. Examples are ancient civilizations, native Americans, primitive civilizations, customs, festivals, religion, types of shelter and food, etc. History
Projects concerning the written story of man and the development of civilizations. Examples include historical events and trends, wars, diplomacy, politics, religious institutions, biographies, etc. Political Science
Projects concerning the principles, organization, and methods of government. Examples include government agencies, constitutions, courts, international agencies, FBI, CIA, etc.

Return to Table of Contents

Three Types of Projects

Problem Solving. In this type of project you identify a problem, prove the problem exists, collect information about the problem, and offer a solution(s) to the problem. The solution can be yours or someone else's. If it belongs to someone else, you have to give him/her credit. Exposition. Telling about something. This project is just what the name says. You simply tell about something as thoroughly as you can. Demonstration. Showing how. In this type of project, you tell and show how to do something.

Return to Table of Contents

The Research Report

Once you select a topic, you will begin your research. Follow these steps:
  1. Go to the library, check out the Internet, interview people, etc. If you find too much information, you may need to narrow your topic. If you don't find enough information, talk to a librarian or other resource person. You may need to broaden your topic.

  2. After you have gathered your information, organize it in the form of an outline. This will help to keep you focused as you write your report.

  3. Write the rough draft (sloppy copy) of your report. Check spelling and grammar. Have one of your parents edit it before bringing your sloppy copy to school for your teacher to read.

A research paper is a detailed report. It should show how much effort went into your project and should tell exactly what your project accomplished. It is the most important part of your project. Your report should include:

  • A title page which should include your project's title and the presentation date. Your name should not be on the title page.
  • An introduction which tells why you chose that topic and what you hoped to learn. Your purpose should be clearly stated.
  • Write the body of the paper in your own words. The body includes answering your questions, or finding solutions to your problem, or information you have discovered in your research. This would include interviews, surveys, and any other information you have gathered.
  • The conclusion you have reached and a summary of your data and/or research.
  • A bibliography or reference page

Return to Table of Contents

A PA Model Reference/Bibliography Entries

You can use this "NoodleTools" or "Citation Machine" website to quickly generate an MLA-style for a single source. Check out these cool tools!

Citation Machine
Noodle Tools Website

Examples of Sources:

Journal Article

Mellers, B. A. (2000). Choice and relative consequences. Psychology Bulletin , xxxxx 126, 910-924.

Magazine Article

Kandel, E. R. & Squire, L. R. (2000, November 10). Breaking down scientific xxxxxx barriers to the study of the brain and mind. Science , 290, 1113-1112.


Mitchell, T. (1987). People in organizations: An introduction to organizational xxxxxx behavior (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Encyclopedia Article

Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 26, xxxxxx pp. 501-508). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Newspaper Article

New drug appears to sharply cut the risk of death from heart failure. (1993, xxxxx July 15). The Washington Post , p. A12.


Scorsese, M. (Producer), & Lonergan, K. (Writer/Director). (2000). You can xxxxx count on me [Videotape]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Return to Table of Contents

Construct Your Display Board

The phycial element of your project comes in two parts. The Display Board and the "Center" Display. Equal care must be given to them because they are as important as your report. DISPLAY BOARD - The display board is the board on which you mount your project and/or visuals. They come in many sizes and shapes. Project boards may be found at Paper Warehouse, Crafts Galore, Playville, Office Depot, and many other locations. The board can be as short as as tall as you want. Just make certain that they won't topple over. A project board MUST be able to stand by itself. The board must fit into a space no wider than 36" and no deeper than 30" when opened for display. Therefore, the board can be smaller than 36" X 30" but no larger. Project boards can be made out of paneling, pegboard, heavy cardboard, or plywood. They should be thick enough to hold the display (at least 1/4") but not so thick that they are too heavy to move (not more than 3/4"). CENTER DISPLAY - When your board is opened for display, there is room on the table for additional material. This area is what we call your center display area. There should be some sort of three dimensional display located on the table in this space. you should consider using:
  • exhibits
  • models
  • dioramas
  • sculpture
  • crafts
  • collections
  • samples
  • notebooks
  • scrapbooks / albums
  • tools
  • food
  • clothing
  • tapes and recorders
  • leaflets
  • books / magazines
  • working / non-working models

Return to Table of Contents

Social Studies Fair Project Checklist

A. Research

1. Does the report have a cover page? (no student name)
2. Does the report have an introduction?
3. Does the report state the subject matter clearly?
4. Does the report show organization in the development of the topic?
5. Is the title appropriate for the topic/subject of the report?
6. Is the spelling and grammar correct?
7. Does the report have a conclusion?
8. Does the research show original thinking or creativity?
9. Is the topic/subject researched thoroughly? (Not too broad)
10. Is there a bibliography with correct format?

B. Visual Display

1. Does the board reflect to topic/subject of the report?
2. Is the overall appearance neat?
3. Does the display exhibit balance?
4. Has color been used effectively?
5. Is the spelling and grammar correct?
6. Does each section have a caption or label with explanation?
7. Does the display show creativity and organization in the development
of the topic?
8. Is there something child-generated as part of the display as opposed
to all computer-generated or Xerox copies?

C. Oral Presentation If you move onto the school fair, be sure that you can address the following areas when speaking to the judges.

1. Knowledge of subject matter
2. Presentation clear, flows smoothly, and is prepared (not read word-for-word)
3. Describe steps taken to complete project
4. Student speaks loudly and clearly

Return to Table of Contents